Turns out Tesla buyers don't care about reliability, report says
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A new report released by ratings group J.D. Power argues that the issues that American manufacturer Tesla have been experiencing with reliability and build quality won't be enough to harm the brand's value among fans.
Titled Tesla: Beyond the Hype, the report states that the brand are “immune” from disenchanting their fans — regardless of the reported issues with both the Model S and Model X — due to the 'image' that comes with owning a Tesla.
“Tesla owners see themselves as pioneers who enjoy being early adopters of new technology,” said Kathleen Rizk, director of global automotive consulting at J.D. Power.
“Spending $100,000 or more on a vehicle that has so many problems usually would have a dramatically negative effect on sales and brand perception. Right now, though, Tesla seems immune from such disenchanted customers.
“When consumers buy a mass-market car priced around $35,000 [USD] that will be their primary mode of transportation, the degree of expectation will increase immensely. We’ve seen that with other well-liked brands, whether or not it involves an electric vehicle.”
J.D. Power aren't the first organisation to point out Tesla's flaws, with Consumer Reports giving the manufacturer a “not recommended” rating for “declining reliability” back in 2016. The Model X also recently made it onto their list of “least reliable cars”.
In some ways, this places Tesla into a similar realm with certain Italian manufacturers that are historically known for reliability woes — with fans who continually look past the bad in search of the good. But it does raise questions around the fate of the upcoming Model 3 — Tesla's first crack at a proper mass-market EV.
Following the American marque's Kiwi launch, Driven were the first in the country to test their NZ-new Model S. And while in many ways we loved it, malfunctioning door handles on a $261,300 car still managed to raise eyebrows around the office ...
If J.D. Power's theory around the Model 3's lower price point and more mainstream approach as elements that will raise the expectations of buyers, then it only adds to the pressure around the entry-level model's production. Reportedly 400,000 Model 3s have been pre-ordered all over the world; making them Tesla's biggest challenge on the production line yet.