Consumer Reports has stopped recommending the Tesla Model S after numerous complaints from owners of the vehicle. The Tesla has received glowing reviews in the past from the editorially independent magazine. (Consumer Reports accepts no direct advertising.) Consumer Reports, in fact, has such a fraught relationship with advertising that it forbids its reviews from being used to sell products. And courts have upheld this moratorium — not allowing companies to use positive CR reviews to pitch its product to customers.
Negative reviews, however, tend to find their way around pretty fast — especially these days. And especially when a product’s faults are described, as in Tesla’s case, as an “array of detailed and complicated maladies.” The CR headline reads “Tesla Reliability Doesn’t Match Its High Performance.” So there’s a silver lining in the second half. If it were allowed, Tesla could say “in 2015 Consumer Reports once again gave the Model S high performance marks.” Some consumers might not even care about the “maladies” when they read in the first paragraph that the Model S is “the best-performing car we’ve ever tested.”