Tesla is certainly having a week of highs and lows with Elon Musk’s COVID-19 diagnosis, Tesla’s move to the S&P 500 in December, Musk being listed as third richest man in the world, and now an unflattering review by the latest release from Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports is an independent, non-profit organization that reviews consumer products for fair marketplace practice. Yesterday, it released its analysis of SUVs and the Tesla Model Y got an unfavourable rating. In fact, they were quite critical and gave the Model Y a "not recommended" score.
Unfortunately, this sent the Model Y plunging to the bottom of the SUV list. The Model Y is Tesla’s latest model that went into production this year and was earmarked to become the best Tesla model especially after Consumer Reports took it out for a test drive and received good ratings. But now things have changed after a survey was done on reliability by owners of the Model Y.
Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of auto testing said that owners reported significant problems and while it’s fairly common for new vehicles to some have reliability problems, he said that Tesla's issues are unusually bad.
"A car might be great to drive and have all the features you want but all that won't matter to you much if you have to keep going back to the dealer for repairs." Fisher added, “It's some basic stuff they're not getting right, which is disappointing. It's disappointing that body panels are not aligned so they can't even shut the back hatch. It's disappointing the paint has so many problems. You'd think this is stuff they would be able to get right from the start."
Some of the issues reported by Tesla Model Y owners included misaligned body panels, mismatched paint, and dust, debris, and human hair stuck in the paint. The survey results placed the Tesla model second last out of 26 auto brands. The Model Y sits in front of Ford's luxury Lincoln brand, but behind Volkswagen.
With Consumer Reports staff regularly praising Teslas in their reviews, there seems to be a disconnect between the positive reviews of Consumer Reports staff and the poor reliability ratings from its survey of owners.
Fisher also said, "This isn't our judgment, it's [the] judgment of Tesla owners. If the reliability improved, I would be very happy to recommend Teslas. They're satisfying and really fun to drive. They're good for the environment. We hope our feedback helps them improve these problems."
Tesla customers still remain loyal to the EV brand, in spite of the issues raised in the survey. "The exact same people who tell us they love their Tesla are telling us about the problems with their cars," Fisher remarked.
It wasn’t just Tesla that got knocked with reliability concerns. Ford’s Lincoln range reported issues and the new Ford Explorer SUV version got its fair share of reliability problems that placed Ford as one of the lowest scoring models of both domestic and foreign manufacturers this year.
Owners of the Ford Explorer reported having to have transmission replacements, and experiencing issues with the SUV's drive system, in-car electronics, power equipment as well as engine and body hardware problems. The least reliable vehicles in ranking were Chevrolet’s Silverado pickup and the GMC Sierra version. And Toyota lost its top rank position to Mazda.
To date, only the Tesla Model 3 has a recommended rating from Consumer Reports and it is also Tesla’s bestselling model.