Tesla spent the first couple years of Model S production working out some pretty significant teething problems, but after a while, they were mostly taken care of. They then repeated the process with the Model X. According to Consumer Reports, they didn't do such a great job with that last bit.
Consumer Reports gave Tesla its first-ever "Above Average" reliability score for the Model S in its newest scores released yesterday. This is a significant victory for Tesla, as their brand image has been tarnished of late after people dropped $140,000 on a four-door supercar only to find that very few of the trim pieces actually lined up correctly.
The Model X, sadly, is still ranked pretty far below average. Many users have reported problems with electronics, paint, panel fit, and a myriad of issues still plague the Falcon Wing doors, which most people agree were a pretty silly idea in the first place.
The company's overall average rests at a weak 37; better than many domestic brands like Dodge, GMC and Cadillac (the latter scoring a surprisingly dismal 26, putting it in last place overall), but still behind many other historically shaky brands like Chrysler and Volkswagen.
Tesla got in a bit of a tizzy over CR's new scores, but not for its overall ranking; instead, the company did not take it well when CR gave the upcoming Model 3 a score of "Average," despite not having actually tested the car yet.
Tesla's frustration is understandable; no carmaker wants to be told their cars aren't up to snuff before they've even hit the pavement. But they don't seem to realize that CR does this all the time. They take into account owner experiences with previous models from the brand, and even what new components are going into a new model to arrive at its predicted reliability. Frankly, given how the Model S and X performed early on, scoring the Model 3 "Average" by this metric is probably pretty generous.