A new Consumer Report published last Thursday raised questions about the reliability of Tesla’s Model 3. The report says it will no longer recommend the model, sending Tesla’s shares down by nearly 2%.
According to the senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports, the reliability issues arise from electronics, navigation/infotainment screens, and other issues in terms of the trim breaking and the glass. He further pointed out the Model 3 owned and tested by Consumer Reports had a rear window with a small stress fracture.
The slipping quality of the Tesla models has been a long-term concern among analysts who believe this is due to the ambitious ramping up of Model 3 production since last year. In fact, at one point the automaker added an additional Model 3 assembly line by erecting a permanent tent outside its assembly plant in Fremont, California. The Tesla employees alleged that the company was churning out a large quantity of flawed parts that pushed the automaker to repair and rework new models before they were ready for shipping.
A Tesla spokesperson defended the company’s position saying that the said report was based on data collected from July through September. So, the majority of the issues have already been addressed through design and manufacturing improvements. Further, the company’s return policy allows unhappy customers to return their cars for a full refund.
As a brand, Tesla fell 11 spots to No. 19 out of 33 brands ranked by Consumer Reports. This is one of the biggest drops in brand rankings in this year’s auto issue.