Results of the 2020 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study are in and it’s not great news for Tesla.
In total, J.D. Power ranked 32 car brands for its study, which included Buick, Volkswagen, Lexus, Cadillac, BMW, Toyota, Acura, Subaru, and Jaguar. Of them all, Tesla scored the lowest among the bunch in terms of new vehicle quality and problems experienced by owners.
The study is based on responses from 87,282 buyers and lessees of new, 2020 model-year cars during their first 90 days of ownership. Initial Quality is decided based on the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (abbreviated as PP100). The lower the score, the higher the quality.
Tesla scored a 250 PP100, which is behind Land Rover’s 228 PP100, Audi’s 225 PP100, and Volvo’s 210 PP100. Dodge and Kia ranked the highest, both tying for first place with scores of 136 PP100.
There is a bit of a caveat, however: J.D. Power notes that this is the first time the agency has profiled Tesla and that Tesla isn’t officially ranked among the other brands because it “doesn’t meet ranking criteria.”
“Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla doesn’t grant us permission to survey its owners in 15 states where it is required,” said Doug Betts, president of the automotive division at J.D. Power. “However, we were able to collect a large enough sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states, and, from that base, we calculated Tesla’s score.”
A J.D. Power spokesperson clarified to Business Insider in an emailed statement that in order for a brand to be included in the study and appear in the official study ranking, the agency has to be able to gather insight from the brand’s owners in all 50 states. Tesla isn’t included in the official study results because J.D. Power can’t survey Tesla owners in all 50 states.
But, “it should be noted that about two-thirds of Tesla’s sales occur in the 15 states in which we cannot collect owner insights,” the spokesperson said.
In any case, however, the surveyed Tesla owners apparently had the most problems with their vehicles’ more traditional quality issues, like build quality.
Betts told USA Today that problems stemmed from paint defects, poorly fitting body panels, hoods and trunks that were hard to open and close, excessive wind noise entering the cabin, and squeaks and rattles. Bets said the issues were “primarily a result of factory quality.”
Separately, Dave Sargent, vice president of automotive quality at J.D. Power clarified, “It’s important to note that the primary reason for Tesla’s score is not the EV-related aspects of the vehicle — they perform well here.”
Tesla did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.