The Forbes reported that the report called “Tesla: Beyond the Hype.” It is based, in part, on interviews with 30 California owners of the Model S and X.
Despite recalls and problems such as poor build quality Tesla owners aren’t cranky. Instead they are happy to take one for the team, according to a new J.D. Power study.
“They feel like they are part of the team and because it is a technology company they were proud to be part of that team,” said Kathleen Rizk, the director of global automotive consulting for Power.
Rizk directed the report called “Tesla: Beyond the Hype.” It is based, in part, on interviews with 30 California owners of the Model S and X.
One of the things the owners liked was the Autopilot feature, she said.
There are a lot of times it disengaged or didn’t work properly
“They thought that gives them the opportunity to get from A to B feeling more refreshed,” she said.
Ritz said during Power’s Autopilot evaluation testers found there were clearly things that could be improved. “There are a lot of times it disengaged or didn’t work properly,” she said.
But that didn’t matter to the owners.
“They looked at themselves more as Beta testers for the company. While Google is testing with engineers as many other manufacturers are Tesla owners felt they were actually live testers for the company,” she said.
She said owners were impressed with over-the-air software updates “in terms of having this always new vehicle in terms of improvement.”
But they also noted that sometimes those updates weren’t happy ones.
“They would say all these positive things but then they would also say you don’t know what you are getting,” she said. “Once you hit the update button sometimes it changed setting or there was a new screen they don’t care for as much as the previous one. But they were forgiving.”
There were body panel gaps, damaged trim, misalignments
This forgiveness also extended to the build quality on the Model S and X which Power concluded was far short of a conventional automaker, particularly considering the vehicles evaluated were priced at $140,000.
“There were body panel gaps, damaged trim, misalignments, tears in the seats. Some of the seats weren’t working properly,” she said. “There are a lot of things not as thought out as well and executed as well as a traditional OEM.”
But that wasn’t a big deal to the owners. Rizk said the owners don’t see Tesla as an automaker so much as a technology company that happens to produce cars.
“And they felt they are part of a movement to be greener and be environmentally friendly by purchasing this vehicle,” she said.
Rizk said it will be interesting to see if owners of the Model 3 – expected to be priced around $35,000 – will be as forgiving. For them the Model 3 is more likely to be the only vehicle and they may expect more.