Consumer Reports and Tesla's Love-and-Hate Relationship Continues

Late last week, Consumer Reports released its annual reliability ratings for all the major car brands and models, but this year's also included a prediction for Tesla's Model 3 mass market sedan.
Tesla Model 3 1 photo
Photo: Unknown via Craigslist
The organization believed the new electric sedan would have an "average" reliability, something the carmaker did not seem to agree with. Tesla hit back with a statement saying that “Consumer Reports has not yet driven a Model 3, let alone do they know anything substantial about how the Model 3 was designed and engineered. Time and time again, our own data shows that Consumer Reports’ automotive reporting is consistently inaccurate and misleading to consumers.”

This wasn't just a defensive move, it was also an attack on Consumer Report's methods, something that - if taken seriously - would cast a shadow of doubt over the nonprofit organization's entire activity. And there's plenty of it.

In response, CR issued an elaborate account of how it conducts its tests, reviews, and predictions while making the entire thing (you'll find the complete text in the "press release" section below) sound as if it were a lecture designed specifically for Tesla. Which, in a way, it was.

To extract the main points, Consumer Reports says that "average reliability" is "generally a positive projection for any first model year of a car." Considering the Tesla Model S only this year managed to promote from "average" to "above average" reliability, we'd say the prediction is spot on. People argue that the Model 3 is a simpler vehicle than the S, and therefore with fewer things that can go wrong, but that's not really the case - the two are comparable on the level of technology onboard.

CR went out of its way to show it isn't anti-Tesla biased as well: "For the Model 3, we looked at more than 2,000 consumer survey responses about Tesla models. In fact, the Tesla Model S is now reported as having above average reliability for the first time ever. The Tesla Model S is also currently CR’s top-rated car, period. (Kudos on both, Tesla!)"

How will this thing end? It probably won't, even though we doubt there's anything Tesla can say in response to this very elaborate text. The best comeback would be to make the Model 3's reliability outstanding so that CR would have to eat its hat.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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