Consumer Reports Removes Tesla Model 3 Recommendation. Will it Affect Tesla Sales?

Apart from being key to Tesla's aim of attaining profitability, the Model 3 is also the best-selling luxury auto in America today.

Many of these reported issues are shared on the Tesla Model S and Model X, neither of which now have a Consumer Reports recommendation. Citing "reliability issues", Consumer Reports relays that it found a number of problems pertaining to hardware along with fit and finish issues. As a result, it said it could no longer recommend the vehicle that's become Tesla's flagship.

This became evident in Tesla's struggles with the Model 3 ramp - an experience that Elon Musk describes as one of the most hard points of his career.

Tesla pointed to its overall customer satisfaction rating from Consumer Reports and said it has corrected numerous problems found in the survey.

The consumer outfit said that Tesla buyers are more likely to be satisfied with their vehicle than customers of any other brand... but "many customers reported problems with the Model 3, including loose body trim and glass defects".

Indeed, besides being the largest auto market in the world, China is also the largest EV market, with local players vying for market share with foreign brands, including Tesla, which for now is the undisputed leader in the luxury segment but with a host of other high-end EVs coming to the market its position could soon be challenged.

"According to our survey results, problems with the suspension, especially with the 2017 model year, have been an issue for the Model S luxury sedan, while hardware problems-especially concerning its unique falcon-wing doors-have plagued the Model X SUV (neither is now recommended by CR)".

"A Tesla spokesperson told Consumer Reports the company had already made "'significant improvements' to correct the issues that Model 3 owners raised." .

Of the 33 brands included in its 2018 survey, Tesla fell to 19th with a score of 66.

Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports, said the organization encountered numerous reliability issues related to the Model 3's electronics. That kind of love-hate relationship isn't uncommon for iconic vehicles with persistent quality issues, such as the Jeep Wrangler and Chevrolet Corvette, he said. The reliability issues came to light in Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey, which asks members to rate their vehicles based on 17 aspects, ranging from suspension and electrical systems to cosmetic features, such as paint and trim. The survey, which collects data on an estimated 470,000 vehicles, evaluates overall reliability, as well as key issues which pinpoint specific problems reported by owners who provide a response to the study.

At one point, Tesla added an additional Model 3 assembly line by erecting a permanent tent outside its assembly plant in Fremont, California.

These latest issues for Tesla come after observers have weighed in on all its woes.

Tesla stock has had a rough week. Some have even suggested that being bought could be the best bet for the automaker.

  • David Armstrong