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"Consumer Reports" Now Recommends Tesla's Model 3 and Model S

By Daniel Sparks - Nov 15, 2019 at 8:31AM

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The news comes as Tesla aims for record deliveries in Q4.

In a reversal of a previous decision not to recommend Tesla's ( TSLA -6.42% ) Model 3 and Model S to buyers, Consumer Reports (CR) is now saying the two models have regained a recommendation from the magazine. CR cited "improved reliability" based on responses to an annual survey of vehicle owners.

News of improved reliability comes at a good time for Tesla. The electric-car company is aiming to deliver a record 104,500 vehicles or more this quarter. A recommendation from CR could help boost demand for the company's Model 3 and Model S during the period.

A woman unlocks her Model 3 with a Tesla app on her smartphone

Model 3. Image source: Tesla.

Yet another reason to buy a Tesla vehicle

Though CR is only just now rerecommending Model 3 and Model S, there were already good reasons for customers to pull the trigger on a Tesla vehicle. Indeed, Model 3 and Model S score well on CR's own road tests. In addition, CR said earlier this year that Tesla's customers are more satisfied than customers of any other auto brand. 

Further, Tesla's vehicles are already considered to be among the safest cars in the U.S. All three of Tesla's vehicles -- Model 3, Model S, and Model X -- not only have five-star overall ratings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but also have five-star ratings in every NHTSA subcategory. 

Of course, the Model 3 and Model S recommendations from CR based on improved reliability is still an important endorsement, particularly as it relates to the company's Model 3. The recommendation signals the vehicle's graduation from a product of an aggressive production ramp up as part of a new vehicle program to a mature and more refined vehicle.

"The Tesla Model 3 struggled last year as the company made frequent design changes and ramped up production to meet demand," said CR's director of auto testing Jake Fisher in a blog post about the magazine's decision to recommend the two models. "But as the production stabilized, we have seen improvements to the reliability."

Tesla is shooting for a record quarter

CR's recommendation comes just ahead of the holidays, as Tesla is trying to ramp up production and deliveries to finish the year with record sales.

The Model 3, as Tesla's most affordable vehicle, accounts for the bulk of the electric-car maker's sales. It represented 82% of deliveries in Q3. Combined Model S and X sales represent the remaining deliveries, with Model S deliveries likely accounting for around half of them.

While demand for Tesla's vehicles seemed to already be tracking just fine in order for the automaker to deliver record vehicles during Q4, a recommendation from CR certainly won't hurt.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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