Consumer Reports Stops Recommending the Tesla | Techno stream

Consumer Reports Stops Recommending the Tesla

21 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Consumer Reports Stops Recommending the Tesla.

Consumer Reports dropped its recommendation of the Tesla Model S after owners of the electric luxury sedan complained of a series of problems including squeaking noises, motors that needed to be changed and issues with the car’s automatic door handles.Tesla Motors Inc., the Silicon Valley carmaker whose market value is greater than those of large global players like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and France’s Peugeot SA, is starting to experience the growing pains that come from producing more cars. The latest software update, 7.0 allows Model S to use its unique combination of cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors and data to automatically steer down the highway, change lanes, and adjust speed in response to traffic.

The change came after the consumer group reviewed reports from about 1,400 Model S owners as part of its annual survey and found they “chronicled an array of detailed and complicated maladies.” It concluded that the Model S “has too many problems to recommend.” The surprise change in rating on Tuesday sent Tesla shares down as much as 10 percent in midday trading. The company’s flagship Model S electric car lost its recommendation from Consumer Reports after owners complained about quality issues as mundane as a squeaky sunroof to major issues like the electric motor needing to be replaced, the publication said in its forthcoming December issue. The change is a significant setback for Tesla, which has earned a devoted following in part because of the glowing reviews from publications like Consumer Reports. Along with the new Autopilot features, the instrument cluster’s new driver-focused design shows the real-time information the car uses to intelligently determine the vehicle’s behavior in that moment relative to its surroundings.

The instrument panel provides a visualization of the road as detected by the car’s sensors, giving drivers the information their car is using for features including lane departure, blind spot detection, speed assist, collision warning, adaptive cruise, and autosteer. When car companies add all-new models and boost production, problems often arise and it can take time to get things fixed at the factory, Fisher said. Using a variety of measures including steering angle, steering rate and speed to determine the appropriate operation AutoSteer assists the driver on the road, making the driving experience easier. The group gives the car the highest marks in a wide array of tests of drivability and efficiency. (The Model S can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, and is “explosively quick,” the group said.) “On our test track, the car is second to none,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing. “But when we talk about reliability, we are talking about things that break. Changing lanes when Autosteer is engaged is simple: engage the turn signal and Model S will move itself to the adjacent lane when it’s safe to do so.

Side Collision Warning further enhances Model S’s active safety capabilities by sensing range and alerting drivers to objects, such as cars, that are too close to the side of Model S. The first buyers of a new model are often hard-core enthusiasts and may have been less critical of any flaws, said Sandy Munro, owner of engineering consulting firm Munro & Associates in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Consumer Reports in August lauded the car’s combination of performance, luxury and efficiency when its tests resulted in a score of 103 on the publication’s 100-point scale. The report pointed out that most of the problems fall under the company’s 50,000-mile, four-year warranty and were corrected at no cost to the car owners. Consumer Reports said that even with the concerns, Tesla owner satisfaction remains very high, with 97 percent of owners saying they would definitely buy their car again. “Consumer Reports also found that customers rate Tesla service and loyalty as the best in the world,” the automaker said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday. “Close communication with our customers enables Tesla to receive input, proactively address issues and quickly fix problems. In instances when hardware needs to be fixed, we strive to make it painless.” Bearish sentiment has been growing since Tesla delivered the first six Model Xs at a Sept. 29 event in Fremont, California. Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclays, recently trimmed his 12-month target price for Tesla to $180 from $190 and rated the shares underweight, noting that the SUV’s introduction “failed to boost the shares.” Barclays has also predicted that Tesla will miss its 2015 target for at least 50,000 deliveries, and the prospect of a slow increase in production of the Model X raises questions about whether the more affordable Model 3, due in late 2017, might be delayed.

James Albertine, a Stifel Research analyst, said in a note Tuesday that many of the concerns cited by Consumer Reports have been previously “discovered, discussed and remedied” by Tesla in the past two to three years. “We will endeavor to learn more about this lower Consumer Reports rating, but considering the gravity (and duration) of the findings we find it interesting there have not been more used Model S sedans available for sale,” Albertine wrote. Tesla’s share decline contributed to a drop of $562 million, or 5 percent, in Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s net worth on Tuesday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Brauer does not expect the report to affect sales in the short term, the issue of reliability is going to be critical to Tesla’s ability to expand into the mass market, where buyers will be less willing to gloss over such issues.

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