Presupposition 1) According to Consumer Reports, it offers sound advice to would-be shoppers based on very careful testing and wise reasoning. Presupposition 2) Its recommendations are given with the intent that they be followed.
Given the above implicit presuppositions that the consumer voice of authority works under, if everyone were to follow Consumer Reports logic, there would not be one more Tesla sold even though it may be the “best” vehicle Consumer Reports has ever tested.
Further, in theory if CR had been its first customer, Tesla may never have sold many Model S units beyond the one CR bought for evaluation – of which it turned around and said the car is almost perfect, but it “cannot recommend it” because it has no track record.
Further, by logical extension, if prudence dictates that a product with no track record automatically cannot be recommended, then by this Catch-22, is it a stretch to say all innovation would forever be stifled due to the lack of a market if everyone followed CR’s logic?
Early adoption? Sorry. Can’t recommend that, it’s too risky.
One might ask, how then does a new company start sales of a new innovative product?
Of course, Consumer Reports knows there will be consumers that do not heed its advice, and will buy the Model S anyway, but what if its advice to hold off really was followed? It does intend its advice to be followed, doesn’t it? …
The almost perfect car you should not buy
We’ll let you answer the above, but we’re prompted to follow the logic through implied from Consumer Reports’ just-released Model S road test. The consumer watchdog did indeed say it may be the best car it has ever tested, but cannot recommend it.
While the review gushes with praise for the car that “takes everything you know about cars and stands it on its head,” keeping to a tradition of conservatism, it essentially says do not be an early adopter, let others go first.
“Another concern is investing in a new car and startup company with no track record for reliability or resale value, and a skimpy (although growing) service network,” offers the publication in its full review published yesterday. “So, yes, despite its stratospheric road-test score, we can’t recommend the Model S until we have sufficient reliability data.”
For EV advocates this might be the most disconcerting portion of Consumer Reports’ evaluation, but the rest is so overflowing with praise for the startup company’s product, many a reader may be tempted to overlook the cautious advice.
“Slipping behind the wheel of the Tesla Model S is like crossing into a promising zero-emissions future,” opens the review. The car is “brimming with innovation, delivers world-class performance, and is interwoven throughout with impressive attention to detail. It’s what Marty McFly might have brought back in place of his DeLorean in ‘Back to the Future.’”
What exactly did Consumer Reports like about the Mode S it purchased for $89,650 plus $1,200 high-powered wall charger before $7,500 federal tax credit? Everything except it lacked a lane departure warning system, and had limited range compared to internal combustion cars, long charging times, limited access, visibility, and some controls.
Overall, the Model S still scored 99 out of 100, and the magazine said it had an internal debate over whether it was the best car it has ever tested, some saying yes, some maybe or no.
By comparison the Porsche Panamera previously tested scored 84, and the Fisker Karma scored 57.
Actual range recorded by the 85-kwh model tested was “roughly 180 miles on cold winter days to about 225 in more moderate temperatures.”
Zero-to-60 mph time for this version just below the top Signature Performance model was tested at CR’s test track at 5.6 seconds.
The ride is “luxury car” smooth, said the publication, and it is “the quietest car we’ve tested since the Lexus LS.”
Handling is “pinpoint” and “reminiscent of a Porsche.” (Presumably a Porsche Panamera, not a Cayman or 911, etc.).
Braking also is excellent, says the report, as are cabin storage, cargo space, practicality with such innovations as the front trunk or “frunk” and optional two-small-person rear jump seats expanding the seating to seven.
In short, Consumer Reports has jumped on board being wowed by the 85-kwh Model S like many other reviewers.
The publication prides itself on fastidious protocols, says it has no conflict of interest in reporting because it purchases its own cars, and its reviews are held as reliable by many.
Others have noted even with all the safeguards in place to maintain objectivity in its evaluations, opinions given by Consumer Reports are ones they would not agree with, to put it in benign terms.
In this case, CR is not bucking trends as it did when it initially came out panning the Chevy Volt, a couple years ago. But keeping to its roots of being at least somewhat contrarian, it does say to withhold purchase of the Model S until a sufficient track record is established by others.
This entry was posted on Friday, May 10th, 2013 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.