Tesla Inc.’s Model 3, its first electric car aimed at the masses, will likely earn an “average” reliability score from Consumer Reports, the magazine said Thursday, and the Silicon Valley’s auto maker didn’t take that lightly.
The magazine’s prediction was based on extrapolating data reported by Tesla
Model S owners, since the Model 3 shares much of its technology with the company’s luxury sedan, Consumer Reports said.
Improved reliability on the Model S, Tesla’s luxury sedan, bodes well for the Model 3, Consumer Reports said. The magazine doesn’t yet have data specifically from Model 3 owners, it said.
“Electric vehicles are inherently less complicated than gasoline or hybrid alternatives. The Model 3 is the least complicated Tesla yet, and should benefit from what Tesla has learned from the Model S,” Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, said in a statement.
Tesla shot back, saying that the magazine’s car-reviewer team has not yet driven a Model 3 and didn’t know anything substantial about how the sedan was designed and engineered.
Tesla also questioned Consumer Reports’ “singling out” of the company and the accuracy of the magazine’s reviews.
“Ever since Consumer Reports declared Model S to be the best car ever and then revoked the rating after being questioned by Tesla skeptics, they have lowered the integrity of their automotive reporting by singling out Tesla to a degree that is absurd, unnecessary, and misleading, implying for example that our cars are unsafe, underperforming and unreliable based on tests and surveys that lack basic scientific integrity,” Tesla said in statement.
Tesla and Consumer Reports have locked horns in the past, and earlier this year got into a tussle around Tesla’s schedule for an upgrade of its automatic emergency braking system.
Tesla’s “own data shows that Consumer Reports’ automotive reporting is consistently inaccurate and misleading to consumers. We have urged them multiple times to correct this, and they’ve refused. We believe this refusal is rooted in the fact that their coverage of Tesla generates significant attention for the publication.”
So far only a few hundred Model 3s were delivered, far below Chief Executive Elon Musk’s predictions for the production ramp.
Tesla earlier this month reported lower-than-expected delivery and production numbers for the sedan, pinning it on “production bottlenecks” and reiterating that there were no “fundamental issues” with Model 3 production or the supply chain.
The prediction for the Model 3 came as Consumer Reports on Thursday released its 2017 reliability ratings, highlighting the Kia Motors Corp.’s
Niro hybrid as the most reliable vehicle this year and General Motors Co.
Chevrolet Camaro as the least reliable.
Tesla’s Model S climbed on the magazine ranking, earning its first “above average” rating.
The magazine said it also extrapolated data from an existing car to a new car when rating the new Kia Stinger this year.
Shares of Tesla fell 2% on Thursday. The stock is up nearly 65% in 2017, more than four times the gains for the S&P 500 index.