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Bloomberg Tesla Model 3 Survey Part I: Quality & Reliability

A new Bloomberg survey finds that the number of defects in the Tesla Model 3 occasionally exceeded the industry average but more than 99% of owners are satisfied with their cars. What other manufacturer can make that claim?

More than 5,000 Tesla Model 3 owners have responded to a poll conducted by Bloomberg designed to determine how happy they are with their cars. One measure of satisfaction is the number of defects per 100 cars sold. According to J.D. Power and Associates, the industry average is 91 defects. The Bloomberg survey shows that the Tesla Model 3 has sometimes been above the industry average — such as last spring when shipments to European markets began — and sometimes below that number.

A note on process: Bloomberg asked people to say how many defects they noticed in the first 30 days. It points out the statistics compiled by J.C. Power cover the first 90 days of ownership. The difference in methodology makes it impossible to compare the two surveys accurately. Also, J.D. Power does not track data for the Model 3 at this time. Please also note that there are many charts on Bloomberg visualizing the data.

The trend is downward, fortunately, with cars delivered in September of this year having only 31 major and minor defects per 100 cars — one third the industry average. In the chart below, the white area represents minor defects reported and the blue area stands for major defects reported.

Of all the defects reported, the vast majority pertain to glitches in the paint and exterior finish of the cars. Clearly, Tesla had issues getting those items right while the ramp up to full production was taking place. Bloomberg notes that fit and finish are the hallmarks of quality in the industry and deficiencies carry an outsized importance when it comes to rating the overall quality of an automobile. Readers are encouraged to view the entire Bloomberg article, which is rich in graphics and details about responses to the survey. Model 3 owners who want to participate in the survey going forward can do so online.

Overall, Model 3 owners are a fairly contented lot both during the first 30 days of ownership and afterwards. The mainstream press has made much about alleged quality issues with the Model 3 but the data indicates at worst that the cars had somewhat more defects than the industry average briefly — during what Elon repeatedly described as “production hell” — and has upped its game considerably over the past few months. Bear in mind that the industry average is for cars manufactured by companies that have been in the business of making automobiles for a long time — over a century in some cases. Tesla has been making the Model 3 for about 18 months.

“Notwithstanding its initial flaws, Tesla owners raved about their cars,” Bloomberg says. “This is something of a paradox found repeatedly in the Bloomberg survey — many of those owners who dealt with defects in their new Model 3 gave the electric sedan high overall marks for satisfaction. They gave their highest ratings to its design, performance, and some of the unusual software features that help define Tesla’s brand. A nearly unanimous 99.6% of respondents said the Model 3 is a pleasure to drive, the kind of consensus rarely reached by any consumer product.”

One person said, “The car feels like the future. I can never go back,” and that seems to sum up how the vast majority of Model 3 owners feel about their cars. [Editor’s note: This must come as a total shocker to regular CleanTechnica readers.]

Bloomberg will release the results of three more parts of the Model 3 survey in coming days, focusing on service and charging, Autopilot, and market evolution. We will share the details about those additional survey results as they are made public.

Photos by Tesla Model 3 owner Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica


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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

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