Consumer Reports pulls recommendation for the Tesla Model 3
As the first vehicle it built for the masses, Tesla's Model 3 has a lot of people to please, and according to Consumer Reports, it currently appears to be falling a little short. The latest survey data gathered on the electric sedan by the nonprofit consumer-focused group includes owner reports of issues with the Model 3's build, leading it to withdraw its revered recommended status for the car.
Tesla has something of a love-hate relationship with Consumer Reports. Its Model S lost its recommendation status in October due to suspension problems, while its Model X SUV has never quite made the grade, due to owners reporting issues with the hardware and falcon-wing doors.
The Model 3 came up short of a recommendation last year when the Consumer Report's own emergency brake testing revealed lacklustre stopping distances. So much so, it said the stopping distance was worse than any contemporary car it had tested and about seven feet (2.1 m) longer than a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
In the wake of this, Tesla swiftly issued a software update that improved this stopping distance by around 20 ft (6 m), which was enough for Consumer Reports to then award it recommended status. In January of this year, the Model 3 then topped its list of the 10 most satisfying cars, a list based on survey data on more than half a million vehicles.
But the Model 3 is again making headlines for the wrong reasons. Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey gathered data on more than 500 of the vehicles through online surveys sent to its members, quizzing them on various aspects of its reliability. It says the latest survey responses "contained a relatively high number of reliability complaints."
Among those complaints are issues with the paint and trim, glass defects including cracks in the rear window, and problems with the infotainment display, including freezing, music playing at random times and automatic scaling and panning of the navigation system's maps.
"While Teslas perform well in Consumer Reports' road tests and have excellent owner satisfaction, their reliability has not been consistent, according to our members, which has resulted in changes to their recommended status," says Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports.
The Model 3 was just one of six cars to lose the recommendation in light of the reliability survey, with the Acura RDX, BMW 5 Series, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Volkswagen Tiguan also stripped. Some of these automakers have sought to address this by issuing technical service bulletins and software updates. Regarding its Model 3, Tesla says "significant improvements" have already been made.
"The vast majority of these issues have already been corrected through design and manufacturing improvements, and we are already seeing a significant improvement in our field data," a Tesla spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement to Consumer Reports. "We take feedback from our customers very seriously and quickly implement improvements any time we hear about issues."
Source: Consumer Reports