Tesla shares (NASDAQ:TSLA) are down after Consumer Reports pulled its “Recommended” rating for the Model 3. The recommendation, which was given to the Model 3 last year following an over-the-air update that improved the car’s brakes, was reportedly pulled over reliability issues raised by numerous owners of the electric sedan.
Jake Fisher, senior director of Automotive Testing at Consumer Reports, noted that the decision to pull the Model 3’s “Recommended” rating was made after aggregating reports from Tesla owners complaining about the fit and finish of their vehicles. The CR director added that these issues were present in the Model 3 used by the magazine in its tests, as the vehicle had a rear window with a small stress fracture.
“When we look at the Model 3 lot of the issues are the electronics. There are some issues replacing the (navigation/infotainment) screens, for instance, but we’ve seen other issues in terms of the trim breaking and the glass,” he said.
It should be noted that while Consumer Reports received numerous complaints about the Model 3’s reliability, the owners who filed those reports have also maintained that they are generally satisfied with their vehicles nonetheless.
“They like their cars, but they still tell us the truth. They tell us the problems they are having with them,” Fisher said.
In response to the Model 3’s lowered rating from the esteemed magazine, a Tesla spokesperson noted that the issues raised in the complaints aggregated by Consumer Reports have already been addressed. The Tesla spokesperson further maintained that Tesla is setting a very high bar for itself with regards to the Model 3 and its production.
“Not only are our cars the safest and best performing vehicles available today, but we take feedback from our customers very seriously and quickly implement improvements any time we hear about issues. That’s just one of the reasons why, in this very same survey from Consumer Reports, Model 3 was rated as the #1 most satisfying car, and why Tesla vehicles have topped Consumer Reports’ Owner Satisfaction survey every year since 2013 – the first year Tesla was included in it.
“We’re setting an extremely high bar for Model 3. We have already made significant improvements to correct any issues that Model 3 customers may have experienced that are referenced in this report, and our return policy allows any customer who is unhappy with their car to return it for a full refund. This new data from Consumer Reports comes from their annual Owner Satisfaction survey, which runs from July through September, so 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.”
The Tesla Model 3 is not the only vehicle that received Consumer Reports’ lowered ratings. Together with the electric sedan are the Acura RDX, Chrysler 300, and Dodge Charger over issues with in-car electronics, the BMW 5 Series over its multiple problems with power equipment, and the Volkswagen Tiguan due to problems with body control modules.
As of writing, Tesla is trading -2.26% at $295.71 per share.
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.