Earlier this week, Consumer Reports came out with their annual car reliability survey, which included an update on Model S reliability in which they re-recommended the car due to improved reliability, and also a warning on reliability of initial Model X vehicles due to many issues, particularly with the falcon wing doors.
But as we reported two days ago, since Model S reliability is improving, we should probably expect a similar story to play out with the Model X. Today, Tesla gave confirmation that this is indeed the case, with a sentence in their shareholder letter:
“Reliability of our vehicles continues to improve and our warranty accrual rates on new and used vehicles declined from Q2 to Q3. The amount of issues that we have addressed with ModelX have fallen by 92% in the last 12 months, a reflection of the improvements we have made in Model X due to our ability and commitment to react quickly to issues.”
The CR report was widely – and wrongly – reported about in various media headlines as if Tesla had the “worst” reliability in the report. This is of course entirely untrue, as Tesla placed ahead of four established brands in the survey – Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram. Consumer Reports also points out that other brands with newly-refreshed models tend to score low in reliability ratings, and thus Tesla, whose product line includes 50% new models, would reasonably be expected to have a depressed rating as a result of that fact.
Early Model Xs have had quality issues, but today’s announcement of a 92% reduction in reliability issues is a surprisingly drastic improvement. As reported before, the Model S had a 50% drop in issues last year over the course of the 12 prior months, which is what lead to it re-earning Consumer Reports’ recommendation. Hopefully this means Elon Musk can move out of his sleeping bag on the factory floor by now.
Given that it will take some time for newer, more-reliable Model Xs to make their way into the hands of customers, and that CR updates their reliability survey once per year, CR may not be able to officially recommend the Model X until one or two years from now. Their recommendation is also based on the results of their road test and safety ratings, both of which generally take some time after a vehicle’s release.
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