Tesla has developed a reputation for poor paint and build quality, but a survey by Bloomberg of almost 5,000 Model 3 sedan owners indicates that the electric-car maker is making progress on fixing those issues. And the participants in Bloomberg's survey gave glowing reviews of many of the Model 3's features.
Defects reported by new owners fell 44% between the third quarter of last year and the third quarter of this year, with reported issues reaching their lowest point in the 21-month period analyzed by Bloomberg in September. Owners described 35 problems per 100 new vehicles in September, down 65% from February, the worst month included in the survey, when there were 101 problems per 100 new vehicles.
Paint, panel gaps, scratches, and dents were the biggest problems owners reported to Bloomberg.
Between January 2018 and September 2019, new owners reported an average of 66 problems per 100 new vehicles. Bloomberg noted that it's difficult to make direct comparisons between Tesla and the rest of the auto industry. J.D. Power's 2019 initial-quality survey found 91 problems per 100 vehicles across the auto industry, though J.D. Power measures problems over 90 days, rather than the 30-day period covered by Bloomberg, and Tesla is not included in J.D. Power's survey.
Tesla did not respond to Bloomberg or Business Insider's requests for comment.
Consumer Reports withdrew its recommendations for the Model 3 and Tesla's Model S sedan due to reliability issues, and the publication does not recommend the company's Model X SUV.
Bloomberg's survey respondents gave high scores to many of the Model 3's features. When asked how much they enjoyed driving the Model 3, respondents gave a score of 4.97 points out of 5, which Bloomberg described as an unusually high score for a consumer product. The Model 3's battery range, over-the-air updates, interior appearance, and touchscreen controls also received ratings greater than 4.85. The vehicle's automatic windshield wipers and voice-command system were the only features to receive ratings below 4.0.
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