What Happened: Tesla didn't have a good showing in its debut.
J.D. Power uses consumer survey data to report the number of problems per 100 vehicles owners experienced during the previous 12 months, a metric it calls PP100. Tesla got a score of 176 PP100, which would place Tesla 31st out of 34 brands covered in the 2021 dependability report — if J.D. Power had formally ranked Tesla.
J.D. Power held back from including Tesla in the official rankings, choosing instead to "profile" the electric vehicle maker. This is because, according to J.D. Power, Tesla doesn’t grant permission to survey owners of its cars in 15 states, unlike other manufacturers. "However, Tesla’s score was calculated based on a robust sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states," J.D. Power said in a press release.
Ranked or not, Tesla's results put in it the same neighborhood as Chrysler, which came in at 166, and Jaguar, which had a score of 186.
Lexus took the top spot, with a score of 81. It was followed in the top five by Porsche, Kia, Toyota and Buick.
The industry average was 121.
The survey covers original owners of three-year-old vehicles, so the 2021 study is reflective of 2018 vehicle models.
The study encompassess ownership experiences like audio, entertainment, navigation, engine and transmission, exterior and interior quality, displays, driving experience, climate control and seats.
The dismal results clash with the overall theme of this year's report.
"Vehicle dependability is at an all-time high, with the overall level of problems cited by owners declining 10% from a year ago," J.D. Power said in its release.
J.D. Power has been conducting the survey for 32 years.
Why It Matters: U.S. consumers aren't alone in questioning the dependability of Tesla, run by its hard-charging CEO Elon Musk.
Earlier this month, China’s top regulatory body, the State Administration for Market Regulation, warned Tesla that it must strengthen internal management and abide by Chinese laws and regulations.
In a statement posted to its website, SAMR said that it, along with four other government agencies, summoned both Tesla Motors Beijing and Tesla Co. Shanghai regarding consumer complaints of abnormal acceleration, battery fires and issues with remote vehicle upgrades.
Not Likely To Slow Tesla Down: Even with questions of reliability swirling, it’s no secret Tesla is a colossal presence in the U.S. EV market.
Tesla took four out of the top five spots for new EV registrations in the U.S. in 2020. The EV maker accounted for 79% of the total, with 200,561 EVs registered.
The Model 3 and Model Y led the way, with 95,135 and 71,344 vehicles registered, respectively.
And J.D. Power separately has been the source of more positive new for Tesla. In January, it ranked Tesla at the top of its first-ever U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience Ownership Study.