Tesla Unfairly Maligned in J.D. Power Survey

Ed Ponsi

For the first time, Tesla (TSLA) has been included in a widely-followed J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey. The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, or IQS, measures satisfaction for new car buyers during the first 90 days of ownership.

While Dodge and Kia tied for top honors, Tesla came in dead last. However, a look beneath the surface shows some serious irregularities. 

Will the J.D. Power survey have an affect on Tesla's stock price? My recent projections for Tesla, based on the stock's chart, remain unchanged. 

There are 15 states that require an auto maker's permission to use vehicle registration data to contact customers. Tesla never gave permission to contact owners from those 15 states.

Those 15 states include California,  where Tesla's most enthusiastic fans reside. 

So, the folks at J.D. Power performed an end-around, by using data collected from the other 35 states. By excluding the state where Tesla is likely to have its highest ratings, J.D. Power presented a result that doesn't reflect the true satisfaction level of Tesla owners. 

Compare the J.D. Power result with the Consumer Reports Owner Satisfaction Survey. Not only did Tesla come in first, it has finished in the top spot nearly every year since 2013. 

To be fair, J.D. Power declared Tesla's survey results "unofficial". Perhaps this is an admission that the survey results are inaccurate. 

If that's the case, why present those results at all?

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