Tesla Model S, Model X Owners Love Their Cars Despite Quality Issues | Edmunds

Tesla Model S, Model X Owners Love Their Cars Despite Quality Issues

Owners of the Tesla Model S luxury sedan and Model X SUV love their vehicles despite a number of reported mechanical and software problems.

That's the word from a new report from J.D. Power titled "Tesla: Beyond the Hype." The research firm says its information is the result of an in-depth examination of the Tesla brand's quality issues that included multiple focus groups with Model S and Model X owners, as well as a comparison of the Tesla models against competitive vehicles by J.D. Power's own automotive experts.

Edmunds owned a Model S for over a year and currently has a Model X in its long-term test fleet. The Model S experienced a litany of issues that made it one of the most problematic vehicles we have ever tested. The Model X hasn't displayed the same number of issues, but there are both design and build quality problems that call into question its viability.

In both models the huge central screen, which controls virtually all the vehicles' functions, has been known to freeze, requiring a software reboot by a dealer, according to the report. Edmunds has also experienced this issue in both of its Tesla vehicles.

Nevertheless, the J.D. Power research found that quality issues have little effect on the brand loyalty of Tesla owners, who view themselves at the forefront of the future of the automotive industry.

"Tesla owners see themselves as pioneers who enjoy being early adopters of new technology," Kathleen Rizk, director of global automotive consulting for J.D. Power, said in a statement. "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."

One reason owners may cut Tesla some slack is that the company has been forthright in acknowledging problems, particularly in the early Model S vehicles. Owners note that Tesla has repaired many of those quality issues under warranty and has made improvements to try to ensure that they don't recur in the future.

However, consumers may not be quite so forgiving with Tesla's next vehicle, the lower-priced Model 3, which is set to go into full production this fall.

As Rizk put it: "When consumers buy a mass-market car priced around $35,000 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."

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