JD Power scored Tesla vehicles the worst among 32 major brands in its annual quality study. It’s the first time that Tesla’s cars have been ranked by the influential customer survey now in its 34th year.
According to the JD Power Initial Quality Study, which measures vehicle quality in the first 90 days of ownership, Tesla cars suffered 250 problems per 100 vehicles as reported by customers, compared to an industry average of 166 problems. Land Rover was the second-worst-performing brand with 228 problems per 100 vehicles. Dodge and Kia were tied for the top-rated brand with just 136 issues per 100 vehicles.
The new study is based on responses from 87,282 purchasers and lessees of new 2020 model-year vehicles. It was fielded from February through March 2020. The results follow news of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation into early Model S touchscreen failures, and a separate report claiming early Model S cars shipped with a dangerous battery pack flaw.
Concerns that Musk prioritizes quantity over quality are a recurring theme for Tesla
Tesla receives a special callout in the list because the survey doesn’t cover all 50 states. However, increased sales of the Model 3 allowed JD Power to collect enough data to measure quality for the first time. “Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla doesn’t grant us permission to survey its owners in 15 states where it is required,” said JD Power’s Doug Betts. “However, we were able to collect a large enough sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states and, from that base, we calculated Tesla’s score.”
Last summer, reports emerged that Tesla was cutting corners on Model 3 production to meet aggressive goals. The company had to build a temporary tent to meet Musk’s ambitious target of producing 6,000 Model 3’s per week. Concerns that Musk has prioritized quantity over quality are a recurring theme for Tesla, that have recently been extended to the Model Y. The data collected by JD Power bears this out.
“What we call the blocking and tackling of building the car, that’s what Tesla is not good at according to this data,” said Betts in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Tesla customers surveyed complained of body panel accuracy, rattles, wind noise, and paint jobs, according to Betts.
Here’s the full ranking, showing the problems per 100 vehicles as reported by owners in JD Power’s 2020 IQS:
Dodge (136) Kia (136) Chevrolet (141) Ram (141) Genesis (142) Mitsubishi (148) Buick (150) GMC (151) Volkswagen (152) Hyundai (153) Jeep (155) Lexus (159) Nissan (161) Cadillac (162) Infiniti (173) Ford (174) Mini (174) BMW (176) Honda (177) Toyota (177) Lincoln (182) Mazda (184) Acura (185) Porsche (186) Subaru (187) Chrysler (189) Jaguar (190) Mercedes-Benz (202) Volvo (210) Audi (225) Land Rover (228) Tesla (250)