Consumer Reports’ pronouncements about Tesla throughout the years have been influential. The Model S has topped the magazine’s owner-satisfaction survey. The magazine has given the Model S an off-the-charts rating after a test-drive, saying last August that “Tesla P85D is the best car we’ve tested in 80 years of testing cars.” A couple of months later, however, Tesla shares plunged after the magazine withdrew its recommendation for the Model S, citing questions about its reliability.
After the May 7 crash that resulted in the death of Model S owner Joshua Brown while the car was in Autopilot mode — which is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board — Consumer Reports’ MacCleery says: “Consumers should never be guinea pigs for vehicle safety ‘beta’ programs.”
Recently, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk told the Wall Street Journal that his company had no plans to disable Autopilot. The feature, which is turned off by default, was introduced last year and allows for some automatic steering, lane changes and braking. Musk told the Journal that Tesla will be publishing a blog post further explaining how Autopilot works.