Consumer Reports To Call Tesla Model 3 'Average' In Reliability

Gwen Vasquez
October 21, 2017

Consumer Reports made the prediction based on the amount of technology the Model 3 shares with the larger Model S sedan, which the magazine's subscribers rated above average for the first time in an annual survey. Consumer Reports has not yet tested the new Tesla Model 3 but anticipates that it will also score well for reliability, according to Fisher, who based his prediction on the results of continuing tests of Tesla's Model S and X. The three Tesla models share the same basic technology.

For the fifth straight year, Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp placed first in the magazine's ranking with the most reliable vehicles on average.

Electric cars do away with numerous mechanical systems that prompt consumer complaints about conventional cars, the magazine said.

The Model 3 is the luxury electric vehicle maker's newest auto, and Consumer Reports said it had no data on the vehicle. Tesla still ranks among the bottom third of the 27 brands, due to continued struggles with its Model X crossover. But it relies largely on technology the carmaker has used on its Model S sedan, which has been in production since 2012, and Consumer Reports said predicted reliability for that vehicle is now "above average".

Fisher noted that electric vehicles are inherently less complicated than gasoline- or hybrid-powered alternatives, and the Model 3 should be the least complicated Tesla yet.

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"Time and time again, our own data shows that Consumer Reports' automotive reporting is consistently inaccurate and misleading to consumers", the electric-car maker said.

Hard to use infotainment systems also continue to annoy customers.

Consumer Reports routinely predicts reliability for vehicles that are new to the market, based on manufacturers' track record and factors including the number of components carried over from previous models. "However, since the Model 3 is a new model, we don't expect the above average reliability we are seeing on the Model S", Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports said. But over-the-air updates are helping automakers alleviate problems more quickly, he said.

In July, Consumer Reports restored a top rating in its class for Tesla's Model S after the company updated the braking system. With a price tag of $35,000, it's been seeing enormous pre-order demand, according to Tesla, although most would-be buyers will have to wait a year or two to receive their vehicles as the company struggles to ramp production.

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