Consumer research firm JD Power has released its automotive Initial Quality Survey (IQS) in the United States for 2022, and it doesn’t look good for Tesla. The preeminent electric vehicle maker was ranked 28th out of the 35 brands that were subjected to the study – well below the industry average.
JD Power uses problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) as a yardstick for how many defects each model gets, and Tesla’s vehicles received an average score of 226 PP100. This figure is quite a bit higher than the industry average of 180 PP100 and puts it on par with Mitsubishi – and behind usual laggards such as Jaguar and Land Rover. Only Volkswagen, Audi, Maserati, Volvo, Chrysler and Polestar scored worse.
To give you a sense of perspective, the leading brand, Buick, registered just 139 PP100, while the highest-ranked premium brand, Hyundai subsidiary Genesis, recorded a score of 156 PP100. This, by the way, is the first year Tesla has been entered into the US IQS.
Tesla did at least beat out Polestar, the fledgling EV brand jointly owned by Volvo and Geely (the latter also partly owns Proton). That company’s score of 328 PP100 was by far and away the worst in this list.
JD Power singled out battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) as being more problematic than cars with petrol or diesel engines, receiving more complaints from consumers. The average score for BEVs was 240 PP100, compared to 239 PP100 for PHEVs and 173 PP100 for vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE). Tesla was excluded from the average as the predominance of its cars “could obscure the performance of the legacy automakers that have recently introduced BEVs.”
Vehicle quality on a whole has dropped this year due to lingering issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including high car prices, supply chain deficiencies and personnel dislocations. The average number of defects rose by 11% or 18 PP100 compared to 2021, with infotainment systems being cited as a particular sore point. Driver assistance systems such as autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control were also said to be problematic.
Tesla may be most famous for its cars’ supercar-beating performance, big screens, yoke-style steering and Supercharger network, but it’s also been dogged by a spate of quality issues, especially after it ramped up production of its entry-level Model 3 to meet demand. The company recalled the sedan seven times this year alone, according to CNN.