Tesla Model S: Most-Loved Car In America

Posted: Feb 26 2014, 1:06pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 26 2014, 8:05pm CST, in News | Cars & Vehicles

 Tesla Model S:  Most-Loved Car In America
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The Best-Loved Cars In America

Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors is more like a technology brand than a car company—based near Silicon Valley, it works with Panasonic to make its battery cell technology and has eschewed the dealership sales model in favor of sunlight-drenched shops in trendy districts. There has long been talk of doing a deal with Apple.

And after reporting a $16-million adjusted loss for the fourth quarter last week, Tesla Motors shares rose 17 percent yesterday morning, pushing company value to exceed $31 billion–that was even before Consumer Reports announced the Tesla Model S as the best car of the year.

The moral of the story? Consumers will happily buy pure-electric sedans that cost as much as $110,000 as long as the product is right. In fact, the Model S is the most-loved car in America, according to a report this month from Strategic Vision.

“We were not surprised–everything about Tesla tipped the scales in its favor,” says Alexander Edwards, the president of the San Diego, Calif.-based consulting firm. “Tesla is a sports car that also happens to provide leading edge innovation with the powertrain. Styling, performance and innovation are key.”

The Models S earned especially high marks for its good looks (arguably on par with offerings from Aston Martin and Jaguar) and its aggressive drive style (0-60mph in around 4 seconds). While Audi, BMW, Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz earned some top spots in their respective statements, Tesla beat them all as the current favorite.

Behind the Numbers
To qualify the “most loved” cars in the United States analysts calculated reported experiences from 69,691 respondents who had owned the vehicle for at least 3 months last year. They judged 150 variables including braking, exterior styling, interior materials, performance, commitment, overall satisfaction, proposed repurchase loyalty and actual repurchase loyalty. They rated each attribute on a scale where the top box score was “5” (I love it).

The idea, experts say, is that the higher the response for each segment, the stronger the leverageable position is for each brand and its particular models, and the better its ability to deliver more dollars per unit of work (aka: more value) from assembly to sales and service.

“Love creates vehicles that have a strong position in their markets, and it is ultimately expressed in being loyal,” says Christopher Chaney, executive vice president for Strategic Vision.

In the luxury sector, the $61,250 Hyundai Equus had the highest score behind Model S—consumers loved its smooth, confident drive feel and its interior trappings like supple leather seats, a bright heads-up display, discrete rear sunshades, and the modern LCD instrument cluster. Hyundai’s Genesis and the Lexus ES 350 also scored well in the premium segment with near-equal scores. BMW’s X6 sport SUV and its 3-Series coupe won their sections; the Mercedes SL Class beat others in the premium convertible group.

They’re all beautiful—expensive—cars. But does that necessarily mean consumers love them more than their mass market counterparts? Well, yes. Mostly.

“In general, luxury vehicles did generate more love,” Edwards says. “But the Hyundai Sonata did just as well–and better–than luxury models such as the BMW 7-Series, Infiniti M, BMW 3- Series, Cadillac CTS and Mercedes C-Class sedan. It’s a general rule, not specific.”

And Tesla, apparently, trumps them all. Click through the slideshow to see the full list.

Source: Forbes

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