Huge problem with Tesla Model 3
TESLA has experienced another embarrassing setback.
The car maker's all-important Model 3 has been called out for a string of reliability issues.
American organisation Consumer Reports - which is similar to Australia's Choice - savaged the brand in its latest reliability report.
Consumer Report's annual reliability survey analyses data from about 470,000 vehicles and their owners.
Common issues afflicting the Model 3 include faulty infotainment functions (including instances of screen freezing), faulty paint, randomly cracking rear windows and numerous other hardware issues.
Last year, some Model 3 bumpers fell off when it rained.
Numerous faults led Consumer Reports to give the Model 3 a "do not recommend" rating.
Last year the Model 3's brakes were found wanting, taking an extra six metres to come to a stop from 100km/h than the average vehicle in its class - its stopping distance was rated similar to a big American pick-up truck. Tesla subsequently fixed the issue via a firmware update.
Tesla's stablemates, the Model S and Model X, received the same "do not recommend" rating. The Model X was among the 10 least reliable vehicles with its controversial "falcon-wing" doors coming in for special mention.
Despite the numerous faults with the Model 3, its owners were among the most satisfied. Respondents rated the 3 on its driving, value, comfort, styling and climate and audio features.
Tesla's reliability woes could be a symptom of the maker's growing pains. The brand's very public struggle to get the Model 3 up to mass-production led to Elon Musk claiming the company was in "production hell".
Tesla attempted multiple scenarios to pump up production to the magical 5000 a week to help the company break even, including removing automation and setting up an assembly line in a tent.
However, in 2019 production has stabilised and Musk believes the company will be on track for annual production of 500,000 vehicles by the end of this year.
A big sticking point among consumers is that Tesla has yet to produce any of the promised cheaper $US35,000 ($50,000) version, instead prioritising the more expensive dual-motor examples as the company aims to boost profitability.
Tesla has recently announced that it made a profit in the past two quarters. The company has never posted a full-year profit.
There is no update on when the Model 3 will arrive in Australia. Musk has previously asserted that it would be about the middle of this year.
The company's local website says right-hand drive models will commence delivery in the second half of 2019. However, that doesn't necessarily mean Australia - it could suggest larger markets such as the UK or Japan.