Tesla Owners Maintain a Deep Affection for Their Cars, Despite Quality Issues

Despite garnering below-average reliability ratings, Tesla is probably the one car brand with the most fervent disciples. While not all Tesla fans are blindly loyal, most are willing to cut the company much more slack than you would Ford the next time your Focus’ bum transmission acts up. Granted, Tesla’s automobiles do possess elements that most Fords do not — namely prestige and a highly unique driving experience.

An elegantly fashionable car will, of course, be more easily forgiven for its missteps than some plain-Jane model. However, the Model S and X have suffered more than just the occasional mechanical error. The Model X is infamous for its malfunctioning electronic doors and wonky electronic interface, while the Model S has suffered from quality control issues since day one. Still, every time an owner voices a concern about reliability or the company’s lackluster ability to service its vehicles, their complaint usually comes with an addendum specifying that they still adore their purchase.

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Hammer Time: Why Cheap Cars Don't Sell

Consumer Reports recently came out with a study that featured the seven least satisfying new cars in today’s market. The worst? By a margin worthy of “Independence Day” going up against “Pluto Nash,” it was the current generation Kia Rio. Only 40 percent of current owners would recommend buying a new one.

The usual demerits for a compact such as the Kia Rio would be that it is tinny, cheap, loud and had interior accompaniments that would be worthy of a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. In other words, it’s a Korean version of the Mitsubishi Mirage with substantially more power in exchange for far less usable interior space and an ugly beak. That may just be my personal opinion.

But there’s a far guiltier crime of irrefutable measure that the Kia Rio is known for at the auto auctions, and Consumer Reports managed to hit the exact bullseye of that bullseye.

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Tesla Dead Last in Dealer Experience, First in PR

We have opined in these pages before about how for every Tesla sold in America, there are two or three glowing stories written about the electric automaker. There are days when over 50 percent of the pieces on auto industry news feeds are about Tesla, which is not bad for a company capturing 0.1 percent of the U.S. automobile market. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is truly a marketing and public relations genius.

Given that, it is fascinating when a negative story surfaces about Tesla’s way of doing business and the slobbering media is strangely silent.

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Honda To Replace Takata Airbags Nationwide If Consumers Complain

Worried that the airbag in your Honda may shred your face instead of saving it? Complain loud enough, and the automaker will replace the unit in question.

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Hammer Time: The TI-QI Top Ten

At what point are you willing to accept a low-ball offer for your old beater?

Is it when the tranny blows out? Or does it eventually come through the scourge of rust, and the constant breaking of electric doo-dads that no longer work all through your doo-dah-day?

Some folks simply get bored of their ride. While others just try to drive their cars until their bodies become the rolling representation of swiss cheese.

Everyone has a reason to curb a car. Thanks to the efforts of Nick Lariviere (

I now need to figure out one simple thing.

What does all this data tell me?

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Porsche Salespeople To Be Taught Manners

Porsche salesfolk in Germany may have to go to school again. On the curriculum: Manners. Getting up while greeting a customer may not be a bad idea. Porsche sales in Germany grew 17 percent from January through October. In November, sales were up only 0.1 percent compared to the prior month. Immediately, alarm bells rang at Porsches new owner Volkswagen, says Der Spiegel.

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Chinese Consumers Rebell Against Channel Stuffing, Punish Carmakers

Channel stuffing is taking its toll on China. Customers fight back against “increased sales pressure and an insufficient supply of experienced staff, driven by a disconnect between the dealership network expansion and the market slowdown, “ and punish car manufacturers where it hurts second most: On the J.D.Power Sales Satisfaction Survey. The survey, published today, notices “a notable deterioration in overall sales satisfaction among new-vehicle owners in China.”

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Chinese Customer Calls Bull On Car

When an American wants to attract attention to his car & dealer woes, the tech-savvy slighted customer sets up a [name_of_dealer]sucksrealbad.com, and protests from the privacy of his webserver. The traditional types take up position in front of said sales outlet with some placards.

In China, the preferred mode of protest is by farm animal. A Chinese man called bull on his car and dealer.

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Chinese Customer Satisfaction Reaches All-Time Ighs

According to (some) conventional wisdom, Chinese cars are made from toxic drywall and are covered with lead paint. A more benign characterization of a Chinese car is “POS” – which is not meant as “point of sale.”

J.D. Power, the global go-to for all matters of customer satisfaction, begs to differ. Chinese have never been happier with their new car, says J.D. Power in a press release titled “New-Vehicle Sales Satisfaction in China Reaches an Historic High in 2011.”

Who are the cars that make Chinese so giddy? If you like American brands, don’t hit the jump. Wait – we found another study that has some red, white and blue. Jump with confidence …

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All You Need Is Love: Volkswagen And Ford Suddenly On Top In Quality

Can one dramatically increase customer satisfaction ion the course of three weeks? Yes, you can! How? Simple: Just get a different survey.

Three weeks ago, acid reflux, shouting matches and massive finger pointing were rampant at car companies like Volkswagen and Ford. On J.D.Power’s Initial Quality Study (IQS), Ford had landed (with a thud) on rank 23, and Volkswagen crashed to #29, outdone in measured mediocrity only by Mitsubishi, Suzuki, and Dodge.

Now, all is fine again.

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BMW Dealers Face The Death Star

Dealerships are a pain in the neck. The salesman tries to convince you that they’re your friend (when you know damn well they want as much money as they can squeeze out of you), getting warranty work out of them is sometimes a nightmare and, if you’re buying used, you don’t know what the car has been through. You can write a letter of complaint, but will that really help*? You may get a discounted service as compensation, but will anything REALLY change? Well, BMW wants to shake the dealership experience up a bit. In the customers’ favor.

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Survey Says: Customers Heart Ford The Mostest

No, the boys of the blue oval didn’t win any new J.D. Power kudos (yet.)

But the relatively obscure RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. says Ford has the highest customer satisfaction among all major automakers. This according to Ford’s latest press release. Eighty-four percent of customers who purchased a 2010 model-year Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars and trucks are satisfied with the quality of their vehicle, says the study.

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This Morning, All Your Toyota Questions Will Be Answered. Hopefully

In case you are reading TTAC before watching the “Today Show,” turn it on. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Jim Lentz, the executive in charge of Toyota’s U.S. sales arm, is scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Today Show” Monday morning, a Toyota spokesman confirmed. Mr. Lentz is expected to lay out a timetable for shipping repair parts to dealers, as well as for resuming sales of the eight models whose sales were suspended last week and for restarting production and shipment of new vehicles that are free of the gas-pedal problems, according to people briefed on the plans.”

And here is today’s media schedule according to the Nikkei [sub]:

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NHTSA To Toyota: Do The Shimmy

The Obama administration either decided that Toyota has been sufficiently maimed and weakened to give its wards of the state some breathing room (a theory rising in popularity amongst some conspiracy buffs), or Toyota has definitely found the definitive cure for UAS (unintended acceleration syndrome). Be it as it may, the NHTSA has approved the shim fix, says Reuters. If the Wall Street Journal got it right, recalled Toyotas may also get a re-flash, and a feature amiss in most American cars.

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Toyota Recall News Reel: Disaster City

Here is a round-up of the Toyota news that is flowing furiously out of all news outlets. Everybody, from the Wall Street Journal to Al Jazeera weighs in on the issue. Grab a cup of coffee. Or something stronger.

More recalls: Toyota announced late Wednesday that it must recall another 1.1 million vehicles “to address the risk that floor mats could trap accelerator pedals and cause bursts of sudden acceleration,” says Reuters. According to Reuters, “Toyota now has recalled nearly 6m vehicles for problems with the accelerators used across its lineup.” This is not counting the 2m vehicles in Europe that will be recalled.

EU recall official: Toyota Motor said today that it definitely will be expanding the recall to Europe, says AFP via Google. “Toyota will implement a recall in Europe,” said company spokesman Paul Nolasco. “We are still not sure about the models and the number of vehicles.” Initial estimates, published by The Nikkei [sub], spoke about another 2m cars in Europe. Plants will not be closed in Europe, because different parts already are being used in new production.

Recall spreads to China: China’s quality watchdog agency said “bu hao” to Toyota and ordered the recall of at least 75,000 vehicles in China,” says London’s Times.

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  • Syke Thanks, somehow I missed that.
  • 285exp I am quite sure that it is a complete coincidence that they have announced a $7k price increase the same week that the current administration has passed legislation extending the $7k tax credit that was set to expire. Yep, not at all related.
  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.
  • ToolGuy Historical Perspective Moment:• First-gen Bronco debuted in MY1966• OJ Simpson Bronco chase was in 1994• 1966 to 1994 = 28 years• 1994 to now = 28 yearsFeel old yet?
  • Ronnie Schreiber From where is all that electricity needed to power an EV transportation system going to come? Ironically, the only EV evangelist that I know of who even mentions the fragile nature of our electrical grid is Elon Musk. None of the politicians pushing EVs go anywhere near it, well, unless they are advocating for unreliable renewables like wind and solar.