Tesla vehicles represent an automotive dichotomy. It’s the safest car ever tested, but more than one Tesla model has had reliability issues.
Multiple issues have been reported by automotive publications and from owners of the Model S, which debuted in 2012. The Model X (2015) has also had reliability problems with its complex design.
Tesla owners, however, have been more than forgiving, according to a new J.D. Power report titled: “Tesla: Beyond The Hype.”
“Owners see themselves as pioneers who enjoy being early adopters of new technology,” said Kathleen Rizk, J.D. Power director, global automotive consulting, in announcing the study.
The report details the owners of the high-performance electric car, like owners of other industry-changing car, care less about new cars’ issues than mainstream car buyers. The reason: Buyers of innovative cars see their vehicles’ issues “as the part of the price to paid for driving vehicles with the latest technology.”
Tesla owners are particularly loyal, according to the report, because of the brand’s luxury status.
Because of its low sales volume, niche electric vehicle manufacturers are not included in J.D. Power’s annual industry-wide Initial Quality Study and Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout Study.
The industry’s well-respected analysis watchdog decided to contact and individual survey on Tesla because of its influence in the automotive industry.
“Most automakers selling cars at the price of the Model S and Model X with similar numbers of quality issues would be expected to experience a negative impact on “sales and brand perception,” Rizk said. “But Tesla seems immune to that.”
Sales volume is likely to increase with the pending debut Model 3. Its $35,000 starting base is about half the cost of the current least expensive Tesla.
The Model 3’s debut is still unknown, but it’s expected to be unveiled in less than two years. It will be the manufacturer’s first mass-marketed car, and it will have a range of at least 215 miles.
Article Last Updated: March 22, 2017.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.