J.D. Power Gave Tesla the Cold Shoulder In Its First Review of the Brand

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As a brand, Tesla certainly has no shortage of loyal fans. It’s cool, futuristic, and exclusive. And between its reputation as an innovator and the quirky reputation of its founder, Tesla generates plenty of buzz.
But as a car company, J.D. Power recently gave Tesla a dismal rating in its first dependability study. Will the snub hurt Tesla’s brand? Jerry is exploring the implications for the popular car maker.

Tesla’s first time in J.D. Power Dependability Study

A low-angle view of the front of a red Tesla Model 3 parked in the daytime.
Tesla ranked low in J.D. Power’s Dependability Study | Twenty20
Tesla was featured in the auto expert’s 2021 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, which surveys car owners about the number and type of issues they’ve had with their vehicles. As CNBC points out, Tesla’s ranking is considered unofficial because the company blocked access to customers in several states, including its home state of California.
Still, J.D. Power surveyed over 700 Tesla owners in 35 states. Including Tesla in the study is an indication that the carmaker is becoming a bit more established.

What is dependability?

The dependability study asks individual drivers about all issues they’ve had with their cars, trucks and SUVs. This can include mechanical problems, exterior and interior issues, and glitches with features like navigation and infotainment systems. J.D. Power then ranks carmakers based on how many issues were reported per 100 vehicles.
Dependability is important to drivers who put a lot of miles on their cars, who are looking to keep maintenance costs down, and who don’t want to be bogged down with too many trips to the shop.
A lower dependability rating doesn’t necessarily mean a less safe car: remember that many of the issues reported are related to exterior and interior features and infotainment systems.

How Tesla fared

In the 2021 study, Tesla was ranked 30th out of 33. The only brands that received a lower ranking were Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, and Land Rover, and the top three carmakers this year were Lexus, Porsche, and Kia. Tesla drivers reported 176 issues per 100 vehicles (by comparison, top-ranking Lexus saw only 81 issues per 100 cars).

Will Tesla’s low rating matter?

While the low rating seems like a potential problem for Tesla, it’s not a guaranteed blow to the company. In the 2020 APEAL study, which measures car owners’ happiness and attachment, Tesla unofficially topped the list.
It’s possible that people who buy Tesla vehicles don’t need a car with the highest dependability rating - they may value aesthetics and performance more. And drivers who love their car despite its maintenance issues are likely to buy another car from the same manufacturer and recommend the brand to their friends. Tesla has an undeniable appeal to drivers who want a car brand that’s cutting-edge and sleek.
Whether you’re a loyal Tesla fan, or you’re looking for a car that’s higher in the dependability rankings, Jerry can help you get the best car insurance for your needs. Get quotes, compare car insurance companies, and find the cheapest plans–all in one place.

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