Larry Magid’s Midrange Mannequin three charging at Casa de Fruta in Hollister, CALarry Magid

As Forbes contributor Ed Garsten reported, Shopper Stories has dropped its coveted Beneficial score on the Tesla Mannequin three. Shoppers Union revealed a weblog publish concerning the determination however — to seek out out extra — I additionally interviewed that publish’s writer, Shopper Studies’ chief auto-editor, Patrick Olsen and had a background dialog with a Tesla spokesperson. Tesla declined a request for an on-the-document recorded interview. Click on right here to take heed to my whole CBS Information Radio interview with Patrick Olsen.

My curiosity on this story is each as a journalist and a Mannequin three proprietor. Shortly after taking supply of my midrange Mannequin three in December, I wrote about its “Thrills, frills and foibles,” and, in January reported on my 550 mile street journey from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas for CES. In each articles, I identified each the strengths and weaknesses of the Mannequin three, and just like the house owners interviewed within the survey that prompted Shopper Reviews to withdraw its suggestion, I’m usually proud of the automotive. I paid full worth for the automotive and don’t personal any Tesla inventory.

Click on right here to take heed to Larry Magid’s interview with Shopper Studies Auto Editor Patrick OlsenCBS Information

The withdrawal of the advice was based mostly on a shopper survey carried out this previous spring the place Mannequin three house owners of their pattern “reported some physique hardware and in-automotive electronics issues, such because the display freezing, which we now have seen with different Tesla fashions.” The publish added that “survey knowledge additionally exhibits complaints about paint and trim points. As well as, some members reported that the Mannequin three’s sole show display acted unusually.” 

Shopper Reviews score of Tesla exhibits excessive buyer satisfaction, respectable street check however poor reliabilityShopper Stories

Similar survey exhibits excessive buyer satisfaction

Paradoxically, the similar survey that CR based mostly its determination to take away the advice additionally discovered the Mannequin three  to be the primary automotive in relation to buyer satisfaction. When it got here to rating automotive makers for general satisfaction throughout all their fashions, Tesla additionally got here out on prime with a rating of 89. Toyota, which does extraordinarily nicely on reliability scores, scored a seventy four on satisfaction.

Within the interview, Olsen stated that the editors and researchers didn’t ask house owners about how Tesla responded to any reported issues. “We requested them to provide us the small print of what occurred to it, however we did not ask about their comply with up with the automaker and the way they received issues repaired.” That is in fact an essential query. Whereas any defect in a automotive is a nasty factor, if the corporate is prepared and capable of repair the issue in a well timed method for no value, that would assist clarify why even clients who’ve had issues should be extremely glad with their buy.

Tesla’s response

In a press release, Tesla stated “Not solely are our automobiles the most secure and greatest performing automobiles out there at the moment, however we take suggestions from our clients very critically and shortly implement enhancements any time we hear about points. That’s simply one of many explanation why, on this exact same survey from Shopper Reviews, Mannequin three was rated because the #1 most satisfying automotive, and why Tesla automobiles have topped Shopper Stories’ Proprietor Satisfaction survey yearly since 2013 – the primary yr Tesla was included in it.”  The assertion additionally stated that “We have now already made vital enhancements to right any points that Mannequin three clients might have skilled which might be referenced on this report.” Tesla added athat “this new knowledge from Shopper Reviews comes from their annual Proprietor Satisfaction survey, which runs from July via September, so the overwhelming majority of those points have already been corrected by means of design and manufacturing enhancements, and we’re already seeing a big enchancment in our area knowledge.”

Tesla will repair issues

I had a noise coming from the left aspect of my Mannequin three and Tesla not solely fastened it without spending a dime, however loaned me a Mannequin S to drive in the course of the 24-hours whereas the automotive was within the store. On numerous boards I’ve seen posts from different house owners who have been glad with in-guarantee restore (the automotive has a four yr/50,000 mile general guarantee and an  eight yr/one hundred,000 mile guarantee on the powertrain and battery, however there are some who’ve complained that the corporate was both sluggish to repair their issues or by no means did make issues proper. Most posts I’ve learn, nevertheless, are fairly constructive and a few of ecstatic. Tesla, like Apple, has loads of loyal clients who appear to like its merchandise.

I’ve additionally had a few points with the Tesla’s single giant display, together with the backup digital camera not working and the display failing to mild-up instantly once I entered the automotive. In each instances, the issues resolved themselves. The backup digital camera got here again on-line the subsequent day and the failed display lit up after about 30 seconds. I additionally had an issue with eradicating the charging cable, which was fastened the subsequent day with an over-the-air software program replace. There’s a guide launch twine within the trunk so I used to be capable of drive the automotive instantly. Tesla additionally has 24/7 telephone help. A few of the tech help individuals I’ve spoken with are extraordinarily educated whereas others put me on maintain whereas they researched my questions. However at the very least they’ve that help. The corporate additionally has what are referred to as “rangers,” a fleet of cellular technicians who will restore the automotive on the buyer’s house or work.

Ideally you should not want repairs, however …

It will be higher if clients did not have complaints, even these which might be resolved and Tesla does appear to have its share of people that have had issues. As an proprietor of 4 Toyotas over the previous 20 years, I can rely on lower than one-hand the occasions any of my automobiles have been within the store for something however scheduled upkeep.  My 2016 Prius and 2010 Prius have by no means wanted any repairs. Nevertheless, at Shopper Studies’ Patrick Owen acknowledges, Toyota and lots of different automotive corporations are sluggish to deploy new know-how.

My 2016 Prius is not any higher than the day I purchased it whereas my Tesla continues to get higher with each software program improve. That is each the pleasure and ache of proudly owning a automotive designed (and constructed) in Silicon Valley. It is a pc on wheels and, like many PCs, topic to bugs but in addition open to upgrades and over-the-air fixes.