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More Trouble for Tesla: Consumer Reports Trashes Reliability

Model X rated “sixth least reliable vehicle” in latest owner study.

by on Oct.25, 2016

Tesla's Model X has had a series of major quality problems, especially with the falcon doors.

Already facing growing concerns about quality issues with its newest electric vehicle, the Model X SUV, Tesla Motors was hammered by influential Consumer Reports magazine this week, the non-profit publication ranking the California carmaker 25th of 29 brands in its annual automotive reliability study.

It wasn’t all bad news. After faring poorly in the 2015 auto survey, CR said the Tesla Model S actually had “improved reliability.” But the newer Model X “has a long way to go,” with a variety of issues including balky falcon wing doors, locks, latches and other systems.

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The Model X is “the sixth least reliable vehicle in our survey, and there are some monumental challenges with that vehicle,” Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing, said during an appearance before the Detroit Automotive Press Association. “It’s unclear,” he added, “whether they will get the ‘falcon wing’ doors right ever.”


Lexus, Toyota Top Latest Consumer Reports Reliability Survey

CR yanks recommendation for Tesla Model S.

by on Oct.20, 2015

Lexus ranked at the top of the CR Automotive Reliability Study thanks to vehicles like the RX450h.

As has been the case consistently over the past few decades, Toyota and its upscale Lexus brand once again topped the 2015 Consumer Reports Automotive Reliability Study; but the annual survey of U.S. motor vehicle owners also revealed a number of surprises.

Among other things, the CR study shows big gaps between the best and worst manufacturers, whether Asian, American or European. And while some of the biggest reliability issues in recent years have involved advanced infotainment technologies, the 2015 study indicates U.S. motorists have also been experiencing serious problems with the latest, high-mileage transmissions.

Another unexpected finding comes as a bit of an embarrassment for Consumer Reports itself. Earlier this year, the magazine gave its highest rating ever to the Tesla Model S. But CR has now withdrawn its sought-after “Recommended Buy” endorsement from the battery car because of significant reliability issues.

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“Tesla has moved from ‘Average’ to ‘Below Average,’ said Jake Fisher, who oversees automotive testing for the non-profit magazine. “Were no longer recommending the Model S,” which suffered from a variety of issues, ranging from squeaks and rattles to drivetrain failures, as well as electric door handles that wouldn’t operate properly, explained Fisher.


GM, Audi, Volvo Make Gains, Ford Stumbles in Consumer Reports Reliability Study

Lexus, Acura, Toyota Still Lead – but Toyota Camry loses “Recommended” rating.

by on Oct.28, 2013

Ford's C-Max Energi was the lowest-rated vehicle in the new CR reliability survey.

While Japanese makers continue to dominate the influential Consumer Reports annual vehicle reliability survey, General Motors, Audi and Volvo made significant gains, each cracking into the Top 10 this year.

While Detroit makers, on the whole, have been gaining ground, Ford Motor Co. dipped well below average. The second-largest of the domestic auto manufacturers has been hammered by complaints about its digital infotainment systems – an issue that has been causing grief for many of its competitors, as well, according to the CR survey of 1.1 million vehicle owners.

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The annual survey contained a number of surprises, including some unexpected problems plaguing traditionally Japanese manufacturers. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports announced that some of the most popular Asian products, including Toyota’s Camry, RAV4 and Prius V models, have lost their coveted “Recommended Buy” rating because of their poor performance in new crash tests.


GM Gains Ground on Imports

Maker posts major gains in reliability study; still lags Toyota.

by on Oct.30, 2012

Cadillac has been gaining ground with new models like the ATS.

Can General Motors close the quality gap?  The maker has long lagged key Asian rivals like Toyota and Honda, but a new study suggests it is rapidly gaining on the imports.  GM was the only member of the Detroit Big Three to improve its standing in the latest annual Consumer Reports automotive reliability study, a survey of 1.2 million of the non-profit magazine’s reader.  Rival Ford, by contrast, suffered a significant decline in the annual study.

Only German luxury maker Audi did better at improving its reliability, compared to GM’s own flagship Cadillac brand.

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The strong performance in the influential Automotive Reliability Study comes as vindication for the long and laborious effort GM has made to get a handle on endemic quality problems.  Industry analysts contend that years of poor quality resulted in significant market share losses for the giant U.S. maker – and contributed to the steady decline that plunged GM into bankruptcy in 2009.


Japan Makers Dominate Consumer Reports Reliability Survey

Detroit makers slip, European show serious problems.

by on Oct.25, 2011

Ford's Lincoln MKX came in for criticism in the latest Consumer Reports reliability study due to technical problems with its infotainment system.

Japanese automakers dominate the latest annual automotive reliability study by Consumer Reports magazine –- while Detroit makers suffered some unexpected setbacks and European brands, including those producing some of the marker’s most luxurious products, experienced significant reliability issues, according to more than 1 million owners who responded to the survey.

Led by Scion, the low-priced, youth-oriented Toyota brand, Japanese marques captured the top nine spots in the widely-followed study. Ford, meanwhile, which had become a benchmark for Detroit’s comeback in quality, suffered a sharp decline, plunging from 10th to 20th among the 28 brands covered by the study.

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“The fortunes have changed for the Big Three” overall, noted David Champion Consumer Reports’ chief of automotive testing, during a presentation to the Detroit Automotive Press Association.

Based on the results from 1.3 million surveys completed by CR subscribers, the data found Ford’s Explorer SUV, compact Focus and subcompact Fiesta models all coming in below average during their first year on the market, while several previously well-rated models dropped to below average due to a mix of problems.