Consumer Reports has refused to recommend Tesla’s flagship Model 3 sedan.

The firm said the Model 3 showed ‘declining reliability,’ citing persistent issues with paint, trim and electronics, which were reported as a result of a member survey.  

Consumer Reports conducts an annual reliability survey that covers 470,000 vehicles and solicits reviews from car owners on their satisfaction rates, among other things. 

This latest data comes from that reliability survey, the results of which were published last October, as well as additional data collected from car owners over the summer who did not respond to the initial survey. 

‘Consumer Reports can no longer recommend the newest Tesla – the Model 3 electric sedan – because members say they’ve identified a number of problems with their cars, including issues with its body hardware, as well as paint and trim,’ the organization said. 

‘The small sports sedan has been well received by its owners, getting top marks in CR’s most recent owner satisfaction survey. 

‘It has also largely lived up to its promise as a highly competitive sports sedan, earning a respectable road-test score, which puts it not far behind the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series.

‘But reliability has been a weak spot for Tesla,’ Consumer Reports added.

Tesla currently holds the top spot in Consumer Reports’ list of brands that satisfy customers the most. 

Some brands like Tesla, which are known for having an almost cult-like following, may see reliability issues overlooked among their enthusiastic clientele. 

In the survey, Consumer Reports asked members to report any issues they’ve had with the vehicle over the last 12 months. 

The questionnaire covers 17 aspects of the car, ranging from suspension and electrical systems to fit and finish issues. 

Over 500 Model 3 owners responded to the survey, according to the firm.  

Model 3 owners reported issues with body hardware and glitches with the in-car technology, such as screens that repeatedly freeze. 

‘The touch screen would intermittently begin acting as if someone was touching it rapidly at many different points,’ one Model 3 owner told Consumer Reports. 

‘This fault would cause music to play, volume to increase to maximum, and would rescale and pan the map in the navigation system.’

Other owners reported issues with the car’s paint and trim, as well as glass defects. 

Consumer Reports verified this issue when it tested a Model 3 and found it ‘developed a large crack’ in the rear window when it was outside in a ‘cold spell.’ 

Tesla acknowledged Consumer Reports’ findings and said it was working to resolve owner complaints through design and manufacturing improvements. 

‘We take feedback from our customers very seriously and quickly implement improvements any time we hear about issues,’ a Tesla spokeswoman told Consumer Reports.   

Still, shares of Tesla slid 2.2 percent to $295.77 on Thursday afternoon after Consumer Reports published its reliability results. 

Consumer Reports noted that there have been reliability issues with other Tesla vehicles, including the Model S and Model X. 

The Model S saw its Consumer Reports recommendation revoked in 2018 due to suspension problems, while the Model X, which has faced hardware issues, doesn’t have a Consumer Reports recommendation. 

Last year, Consumer Reports said it wouldn’t recommend the Model 3 after it said it had the worst braking distances of ‘any contemporary car.’ 

Tesla later upgraded the braking software on the Model 3 after Consumer Reports highlighted the issues.  

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