Brand new Tesla Model S cars sit outside a Tesla showroom on August 2, 2017 in Corte Madera, California. Tesla will post a profit for the second quarter after the closing bell today.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
Tesla’s Model S sedan is no longer “recommended” by Consumer Reports due to a decline in reliability, the influential rating organization said on Thursday.
Jake Fisher, senior director of auto tests at Consumer Reports, said the electric car’s rating in the annual Auto Reliability Survey declined due to issues with air suspension and the main computer and touchscreen controls.
“We are seeing a lot of problems with this car,” he told CNBC. “It fluctuates throughout its life cycle,” as Tesla kept updating the car, first introduced in 2012.
Typically, older models are more reliable as companies address issues as the vehicles age. However, Tesla continued to update the cars without any changes to their exterior, including wireless or remote updates – an emerging trend in the Tesla auto industry led.
The Model 3 is now the only Tesla vehicle that Consumer Reports recommends for consumers. Overall, Tesla came in penultimate place in the reliability study. Due to the Model S and Model Y, which went on sale earlier this year and has “well below average reliability”, it was down two places from the previous year, the publication said. Problems with the Model Y included quality issues with body panels and paint, according to consumer reports.
Tesla Model S Dual Motor fully electric sedan exhibited at Brussels Expo on January 9, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium.
Sjoerd van der Wal | Getty Images
Many of the issues identified in consumer reports are ongoing for Tesla. The company announced Monday owners of older S and X models that the company will reimburse them for repairs if they previously had to pay out of pocket to fix a problem in their main computers. The problem manifested itself as a blank touchscreen or other glitches in the system and was related to memory device failures in the computer that is storing data from the vehicle.
Of the 26 brands evaluated in the survey, Japanese automakers performed best. For the first time, the Japanese brand Mazda was high on the charity’s list of trustworthiness. In the past, this top position was held by Toyota and Lexus, which were in second and third place. Buick, Honda and Hyundai were considered “more reliable” than most other brands. Ford Motor’s Lincoln brand, which was down eleven places from the previous year, came last behind Tesla in the study.
The survey, which covers the 2000-2020 model years, is based on data collected from owners of more than 300,000 vehicles. The nonprofit then assigns various nameplates a predicted reliability score for new vehicles based on the number of problems reported and other actions.
The reliability rating is a key element in the overall assessment of a vehicle through consumer reports and whether or not it is “recommended” to consumers. The overall assessment also includes road test performance, the results of the owner satisfaction survey on whether a vehicle is equipped with critical safety systems, and crash test results, if any.
Here are the reviews: