Tesla gets taken to task by Consumer Reports.

The Tesla Model Y SUV

Getting decent ratings from Consumer Reports is an important achievement for any product – particularly high ticket-items such as large home appliances and motor vehicles.

Many consumers consider CR to be the Holy Grail when it comes to its product evaluations. Indeed, weak comparative ratings is why so many American car makers have suffered greatly when attempting to compete with their Asian and some European counterparts.

And then we have Tesla.  This American car (and solar panel technology) company is different in that the Tesla product line doesn’t include any traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles.  The company has suffered for that in Consumer Reports’ reliability rankings, as its electric car technology isn’t fully mature – and hence subject to some rather gnarly quality control issues.

Actually, the company had been making some pretty steady progress on the product quality front – until the new Model Y mid-size SUV model hit the market earlier this year. Some of the common complaints about that new Tesla model have been eyebrow-raising to say the least – including some very basic and distinctly lo-tech problems like misaligned body panels and mismatched paint colors. 

As it turns out, the knocks on the Model Y have sent Tesla’s brand reputation plummeting in the CR reliability ratings.  The company now ranks an abysmal 25th out of 26 auto brands.  Ouch!

The Model Y has garnered Consumer Reports’ embarrassing designation “much worse than average.”  But Tesla’s more established vehicle models aren’t perceived to be that much better, actually.  CR rates both the Model S sedan and the Model X SUV as “worse than average,” meaning that only Tesla’s Model 3 is currently holding an “average” rating and the commensurate “recommended” status from CR.

Clearly, this company has substantial work left to do to convince a skeptical public of the quality of its automotive lineup.  Considering how quickly electric cars are being adopted now, it looks like the company will need to clean up its act within the next 24 to 36 months, or risk becoming one of those early pioneers that flamed out — just like happened to many of the early entrant motorcar companies a century ago.

What are your own thoughts about the promise – and pitfalls — of Tesla and its products?  Please share your perspectives with other readers here.

From Consumer Reports: The MarComm Tactics People Dislike the Most

imagesMost of us have a few “pet peeves” when it comes to the advertising and promotional tactics we find obtrusive or just plain irritating.

Recently, Consumer Reports studied this issue.  In June 2014, it published an article citing the marketing tactics Americans say they like the least.  The findings were collected via its own survey of a cross-section of U.S. adults age 18 or over.

Of the tactics covered in the survey, some might be considered only mildly irritating … but others are horribly intrusive.

Let’s start with the marketing tactics that the survey respondents roundly disliked:

#1. Telemarketing robocalls:  ~77% dislike

#2. False claims of winning a prize:  ~74%

#3. “Official” direct mail that appears to be an invoice or a check:  ~71%

#4. Pop-up ads on websites:  ~70%

#5. Ads for nutritional supplements making exaggerated claims:   ~70%

#6. Videos that play before viewers can view their desired web content:  ~66%

#7. TV advertising that plays louder than the program itself:  ~63%

Another three marketing tactics were also disliked, but by a smaller proportion of respondents:

#8. Fast-talking disclaimers on broadcast ads:  ~50%

#9. Infomercials:  ~42%

#10. Ads for sensitive personal medical conditions:  ~38%

Wrapping up the list were these four tactics which respondents considered least objectionable:

#11. Products advertised as “American made” that actually aren’t

#12. “Free” offers – but with strings attached

#13. Targeted online ads that show based on viewer purchases, behavior or demographics

#14. Product placement in TV programs and movies

#15. Billboard advertising 

Of all the 15 MarComm tactics evaluated, my own “Top 2” personal dislikes are #4 and #6.

I’m in the marketing field myself, so I guess I should be tolerant of these techniques … but I think my time online is way more valuable than that!

How about you?