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Are Tesla Owners Naive Or Tech Savvy? Maybe Both, But Mostly In Love

I recently covered the J.D. Power 2020 Initial Quality Study (IQS) in which Tesla was represented for the first time, and in this report Tesla scored an absolute low due to many alleged quality issues, but the data behind this rating was not straightforward. To conclude on the discussions on this particular report, I think …

I recently covered the J.D. Power 2020 Initial Quality Study (IQS) in which Tesla was represented for the first time, and in this report Tesla scored an absolute low due to many alleged quality issues, but the data behind this rating was not straightforward. To conclude on the discussions on this particular report, I think it was a hint to auto manufacturers to take the experiences of car owners very seriously, even if they are not clearcut. Tesla surely does this already, but the potential to be the best in class is still huge. Same goes for any other brand willing to go all-in. Not having functions that owners can complain about to avoid low scores is not a winning recipe in my book.

Photo credit: Jesper Berggreen

In May I covered the Danish Motorist Association (FDM) car owner satisfaction report for Denmark: The Motor AutoIndex 2020. Tesla was represented for the first time here too, and it was not all rosy either. Overall, Tesla made 6th place, but could have done much better had it not been for very poor ratings in sales and service.

Who Are The Tesla Owners Behind The Numbers?

It would be nice to have more specific data from owners in the J.D. Power report, but for the time being, we are fortunate enough to find that FDM answered this question a month after its report came out.

The monthly magazine Motor from FDM states on behalf of Tesla owners: “Great car, lousy service”

FDM took a deeper dive into the numbers and here’s what it found (source: FDM’s Motor magazine, no. 5 2020):

  • 18.6% of new owners bought their Tesla used. The average among all other brands in the survey was 31.9%.
  • 29.9% of Tesla owners are either top executives or middle managers. The average among all other brands in the survey was 16.7%.
  • 51.5% did not try any other brands before their Tesla purchase. The average among all other brands in the survey was 33%.
  • 87.2% of Tesla owners will buy the same brand next time. Prior to owning a Tesla vehicle, 12.5% owned a BMW, 11.8% owned a VW, and 7.9% owned an Audi.
  • 69.7% of Tesla owners own 2 cars. The average among all other brands in the survey was 43.9%.

What Are The Challenges Tesla Owners Meet That Others Don’t?

  • 91% did not get a price reduction on their purchase of a new Tesla vehicle. The average among all other brands in the survey was 20%.
  • 46.8% did not have their Tesla vehicle delivered at the promised date. The average among all other brands in the survey was 15.3%.
  • 23.9% of Tesla owners come back to get faults and errors fixed on their new vehicle. The average among all other brands in the survey was 8.3%.

Are Tesla Owners Naive?

What’s going on here? It seems new Tesla owners must endure a more unpleasant buying and service experience than others — but they are still very loyal to the brand. Could it be that the experience behind the wheel in a Tesla vehicle is different from all other brands? You bet. Is that good? That depends on why you chose to sit down behind that wheel in the first place.

I don’t think for a minute that you would even consider trying a Tesla if you are naive. Well, you might be a bit naive, if you are being lured in some way, but it’s more in the sense of taking a leap of faith, and that’s not the same as being naive. Tesla vehicles are so very different from all other cars that you either find yourself curious enough to find out more, or you simply discard the brand as not being an option in any way.

However, if you eventually find yourself in Tesla, and if you’re just a bit tech savvy, you will get the idea instantly. If you’re not tech savvy, there is a small learning curve, and then you will get it. All the reasons why Tesla vehicles are designed the way they are will be clear to you. Tesla’s vision will sneak up on you, and the old way of doing automotive will start fading away. Faults and errors will obviously annoy you tremendously now that you’ve come this far in your new automotive mindset, and long waiting times to get issues fixed will only make it worse, but what’s the alternative to Tesla? Really.

Still, Tesla has to address all quality issues sooner rather than later. Not because there is any real competition yet. Not because there is any risk of low demand — like, ever. Not because the Tesla customer base might get any less loyal, just yet.

The 2nd quarter of 2020 is over and done with. Tesla has proven the naysayers wrong with one final blow despite pandemic constraints. Profit or not, the skimping on non-critical issues has to end.

Tesla has to make rock-solid, near-flawless products, beginning right now, for one reason only: Because it can.

Photo credit: Jesper Berggreen

If you choose to buy a Tesla, feel free to use my referral link to get lots of free miles: https://ts.la/jesper18367

 
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Written By

Jesper had his perspective on the world expanded vastly after having attended primary school in rural Africa in the early 1980s. And while educated a computer programmer and laboratory technician, working with computers and lab-robots at the institute of forensic medicine in Aarhus, Denmark, he never forgets what life is like having nothing. Thus it became obvious for him that technological advancement is necessary for the prosperity of all humankind, sharing this one vessel we call planet earth. However, technology has to be smart, clean, sustainable, widely accessible, and democratic in order to change the world for the better. Writing about clean energy, electric transportation, energy poverty, and related issues, he gets the message through to anyone who wants to know better. Jesper is founder of Lifelike.dk and a long-term investor in Tesla, Ørsted, and Vestas.

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