2013 Tesla Model S
Tesla might have had a bad day this week, but every cloud has a silver lining.
While the NHTSA rebukes it for reporting a five-plus star crash test rating and the company suffers the departure of sales supremo George Blankenship, Model S customers couldn't be happier.
In fact, their customer satisfaction is some of the highest Consumer Reports "has seen in years"--with an owner satisfaction score of 99 out of 100.
Amusingly, that number has cropped up before for the Model S. When Consumer Reports tested the car earlier this year, they awarded it a 99 out of 100 score, too--the highest-scoring model since 2007. Only a six-hour charging time prevented a perfect score.
The consumer testing group collected the responses of more than 600 2012 and 2013 Model S owners to determine their satisfaction, which ranked higher than any other model scored this year.
It dethrones the Chevrolet Volt, which has topped satisfaction ratings for the last two years--and falls to third this time around with a score of 91--a single point lower than last year. Splitting the Tesla and Volt is the Porsche Boxster, while Subaru's Forester, Mazda's 6 and the Volkswagen Golf TDI all scored highly.
Customer satisfaction is determined through one particular question in CR's survey, "Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had it to do all over again?" Plenty of "definitely yes" answers result in a high score.
There's no better advocacy for a model than judging how many people would own another--and Tesla Motors should see this as a sign that repeat business certainly won't be hard to come by.
The same is less true for Toyota, whose Prius C slipped a little this year--dropping ten points from last year's score as its novelty factor wanes. Green cars as a whole do well though--hence the Volt's continuing high satisfaction scores.
So what car sits at the bottom for customer satisfaction? Not something unreliable, nor a gas-guzzler providing a polar opposite to the Model S--but the humble Nissan Versa sedan, one of the cheapest cars on sale.
Despite being easy to drive and reasonably efficient, consumers clearly want more from their cars--its 45 from 100 score is almost perfectly average. Perhaps Nissan should take a little inspiration from its concept vehicles...
For Tesla, it shows that even bad weeks can still harbor good news...