Fortunately, not all Tesla owners have manufacturing issues. But the latest JD Power study on the subject shows that the situation has nevertheless deteriorated significantly in 2021. The electric car manufacturer is not alone in this case. Nevertheless, Tesla is one of the manufacturers where manufacturing quality has deteriorated the most in the past year.
However, the JD Power study is not intended to point the finger at manufacturers. But rather to identify the difficulties to help them improve. The coronavirus pandemic has had a strong impact on automotive production, which has mechanically lowered manufacturing quality for all manufacturers.
Tesla suffered like others from component shortages linked to the pandemic
But not everyone is the same. The manufacturing quality of the General Motors brands (in particular Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet) has, for example, remained at a very high level. The same can be said for BMW, Hyundai, Toyota and Ford brand vehicles. But at the very bottom of the ranking, we find Tesla tied with Mitsubishi (226 problems encountered out of 100 vehicles, or pp100). The manufacturer is followed by Volkswagen (230 pp100), Audi (239 pp100), Maserati (255 pp100), Volvo (256 pp100) and Chrysler (265 pp100).
The worst student is the Polestar brand, whose latest deliveries suffer, according to JD Power, from 328 problems out of 100 vehicles. The study explains that the deterioration affects older vehicles, even if “it is the very new models on which the deterioration is the strongest”. There are also fewer new problems on mass-produced vehicles than more premium vehicles.
Foremost among the problems noticed by new car owners are those with the infotainment system. The latter have problems in 45% of vehicles delivered recently, with in particular problems with Android Auto / Apple CarPlay connectivity, with voice recognition, with the touch screen part, or the bluetooth system. Users also report missing ports and volume hold issues.
Unsurprisingly, electric vehicles and PHEVs are hit with the most problems. New owners are also noticing more problems with the driver assistance systems, including problems with the lane change system. However, appearances are deceptive: according to JD Power, overall the sector has withstood the difficulties linked to the pandemic in terms of manufacturing quality rather well:
“Given the many challenges manufacturers and dealers have faced in the past year, it’s almost surprising that build quality hasn’t dropped even more significantly. […] in general quality has improved at a steady pace since the first edition of this survey, so this year’s decline is disappointing – yet understandable”.
And JD Power to continue: “Manufacturers have continued to release vehicles that are increasingly technologically complex in a period of coping with shortages of many components.” These shortages almost caused real logistical disasters, sometimes forcing Tesla like other manufacturers to deliver vehicles with missing elements like these Teslas with a hole in place of USB ports.
JD Power is in its 36th such study. The survey is based on responses to a questionnaire in which 84,165 new owners who received their vehicle in 2022 took part. The questionnaire contains 223 questions grouped into 9 categories: infotainment, features, controls and screens, exterior, driving assistance, interior, engine platform, upholstery, driving experience and air conditioning.