Tesla Has The Highest Emotional Appeal But Also The Most Actual Problems

JD Power announced results of its Initial Quality Survey in June, including Tesla for the first time and revealing that owners reported more problems than any other automaker JD Power rated. Which made for an interesting contrast this week with a new JD Power survey measuring emotional appeal. Tesla has more than anyone.

To review, here’s the IQS chart from June:

Screenshot: JD Power

And below is the one JD Power released Wednesday. The Initial Quality Survey is supposed to be a measure of customer satisfaction, while the new survey, called Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL) measures brand loyalty and vehicles “that create joy for their owners often overcome any negatives caused by problems they experience.”

That sentence from JD Power’s press release is not aimed at Tesla but describes their situation to a T. In both surveys, Tesla was not officially ranked alongside the other brands because Tesla would not let JD Power survey its owners in 15 states. JD Power still, however, felt comfortable enough to assign them a score in both cases.

Screenshot: JD Power
Screenshot: JD Power

The brands above are actually just the luxury segment, but JD Power said that Porsche had the highest score overall at 881, which meant that unranked Tesla was actually considerably higher at 896.

[APEAL measures] owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement with their new vehicle across 37 attributes, ranging from the sense of comfort and luxury they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat to the feeling they get when they step on the accelerator. These attributes are aggregated to compute an overall APEAL index score measured on a 1,000-point scale.

If you’re curious about who won the mass-market division, that would be … Dodge, Ram, GMC, Ford, and Mini, though the Tesla result is really the only interesting one. That’s because it puts some data on something we already sort of vaguely could sense: that Tesla’s quality really is likely worse than other manufacturers but that its owners love it anyway.

Anyway, don’t tell Porsche. A half-hour after JD Power released the APEAL results Porsche pushed a press release of its own. “Porsche Ranks Highest Overall in J.D. Power APEAL Study,” its headline blared, which is technically accurate.