New evaluation of consumer reports (USA)
Tesla again second to last in the US quality ranking

Tesla just can’t get its quality issues under control. In a new evaluation of the US counterpart to Stiftung Warentest, only one brand is worse. It’s not the first time that the maker of Consumer Reports has been penalized.

Consumer Reports (CR) is a consumer protection organization in the USA, which can be roughly compared with the German “Stiftung Warentest”. CR regularly checks cars and asks consumers about their experiences with their vehicles. The database is tidy: the consumer advocates receive data on more than 300,000 new and used cars every year. The results of this “Auto Brand Reliability Report” lead to a corresponding ranking and an official purchase recommendation. Or a warning before buying.

If there were several leagues among the car brands offered in the USA, Tesla – measured by the CR ranking – would be a permanent relegation candidate. As in the previous year, the electric car manufacturer ranks second to last (only Ford’s premium brand Lincoln is again worse). The Californians are particularly concerned about their youngest model, Model Y. Body problems are central here: Consumer reports are repeatedly reporting paint damage and incorrectly fitted doors and tailgates. It’s hardly better with the significantly more expensive Model S and X electric cars: In addition to the faulty bodies, there are also problems with the electronics and air conditioning. The Model 3 scores average as the best Tesla product.

CR sees other problem children too

It’s not the first time that Tesla, and Model Y in particular, has been penalized by Consumer Reports. As early as spring 2020, the consumer protection organization withdrew the purchase recommendation it had given for the compact electric SUV. Incidentally, he shared this fate at the time with competitors Audi E-Tron and Kia Niro EV. The basis of the decision at that time was also the survey among the subscribers of the Consumer Reports magazine. In the case of electric cars, the three models mentioned had a particularly large number of defects.

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Hans-Dieter Seufert

We also found workmanship that could be improved in the first Model Y in the auto motor und sport test

With the Audi E-Tron, owners complained more often than average about failures of the electric drive and unspecified problems with built-in electronics. A frequently mentioned defect in the Kia Niro EV was a bearing damage in the electric motor. And with the Tesla Model Y, then as now, the now usual criticism of the processing quality runs like a red thread through the survey results. Consumer Reports found the report of a member who discovered dirt and hair in the paintwork of his Model Y particularly worth mentioning. The Tesla community, which is lively communicating on the Internet, reports much more serious deficiencies; we collect the most violent of them continuously in this article.

Porsche Taycan is no longer recommended – because it is new

According to Consumer Reports, when asked, Audi USA responded by knowing the problems mentioned and already remedying them. At Kia it was said that the problem was known and had already been resolved by a change in production. Only from Tesla, as usual, was there no comment, the e-car manufacturer has now completely dissolved its press department. However, our test experiences with the Tesla Model Y (“Strong, fast and poorly processed”) also show that there is still room for improvement in Tesla quality control.

Consumer Reports purchase recommendations carry weight in the US and are used by many consumers as a guide to their purchases. Correspondingly, companies are hit hard when their products are advised against, as is the case with the three electric cars. The matter becomes a bit curious, however, when Consumer Reports introduces kin liability. On the grounds that with a high level of complexity in the equipment and with new products in general, the error rate could probably be higher, the Porsche Taycan and the Mercedes EQC were also downgraded without having relevant experience with their long-term quality.

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Consumer Reports writes literally: “The Taycan impressed us on our test track. We do not have sufficient data from our members for the Taycan, but since the new data shows problems with other electric cars, we have our reliability forecast for the vehicle from downgraded to below average on average, and the Taycan is no longer recommended. “

In the video: Porsche Taycan versus Tesla Model S.

In general, Consumer Reports points out that especially completely newly introduced models are more likely than average to be noticed with defects, especially with a high degree of additional electronic equipment such as new infotainment systems or the like. A judgment that cannot be completely dismissed based on our first test experiences with the VW ID.3: The first test model of the VW ID.3 disappointed with unfinished software and careless workmanship (here the first test of the ID.3 with the mentioned problems). As newer test cars of the ID.3 have shown, this has since been significantly improved.

Consumer Reports confirms the thesis of the less reliable first works in the field of e-cars with other models. The models Chevrolet Bolt (known in Germany as Opel Ampera-e) and Nissan Leaf, for example, which have been in production for a long time, are more trustworthy than other e-cars due to their construction time and less complex equipment.

opinion poll

Yes, I believe in the domestic desire for good quality.

No, even a local skilled worker is powerless against the Tesla production system.

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Manufacturing defects and malfunctions in the software – according to Consumer Reports, buyers of new e-cars are often beta testers, while the product quality is higher over a longer production period. A judgment that quite a few car buyers share and that is why they don’t want to buy a new vehicle until after one to two years of production. However, the fact that Consumer Reports uses this thesis to place other models under general suspicion without any long-term experience and, for example, to explicitly warn against buying a Porsche Taycan, shows self-confidence.

The situation at Tesla is different: quality problems have been with the brand since its inception and simply cannot be resolved. One can no longer speak of teething troubles here. Rather from the fact that Tesla has still not found a way out of the “production hell” (quote from Tesla boss Elon Musk).


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