Consumer Reports said Thursday that the Tesla Motors Model S electric car has generated the highest consumer loyalty of any car it has surveyed in years.
Owners of the luxury sports sedan, which sells for $70,000 to $100,000 depending on equipment and options, gave the Model S a score of 99 out of 100.
The magazine said that it collected more than 600 survey responses from owners of 2012 and 2013 models. The score also matches “the near-perfect 99 overall test score the Model S earned in Consumer Reports’ performance ratings,” the magazine said.
“In testing, the Model S stands out for its innovative design, outstanding performance and surprising practicality. These results suggest Tesla owners are very, very satisfied,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing.
Cars that score well in the survey are typically vehicles that are either fun to drive, deliver great fuel economy, are fashionably green or envelop owners in a high-tech, luxurious driving environment, the magazine said.
The Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid scored third in the survey and has been at or near the top during each of its first three years of production. Consumer Reports said that fun-to-drive, green cars generally score high.
Luxury cars also did well in the Consumer Reports survey.
The Porsche Boxster sports car was second overall.
Led by its Audi A6 luxury sedan, Audi had more high-scorers than any other luxury brand.
Less expensive cars that did well included the redesigned Mazda6 and Subaru Forester, Mazda6 as well as the Dodge Charger with the V8 engine and the diesel-powered Volkswagen Golf TDI sporty compact.
Tesla also got a boost Thursday morning from Fortune Magazine’s selection of Elon Musk, the Palo Alto car company’s chief executive, as the 2013 Businessperson of the Year. Fortune compared Musk, who is also CEO of SpaceX and chairman of SolarCity to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
The kudos for the company and Musk is good news at the end of a tough week.
On Tuesday, federal safety regulators opened a probe into a series of fires in Tesla Motors Inc. electric cars following crashes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday that it would investigate why two of the expensive Tesla Model S sporty hatchbacks have caught fire this year following accidents in which the battery casing that serves as the undercarriage of the car cracked open.
Musk said he requested the investigation to clear Tesla cars of any safety issues. But the government disputed that claim, saying that fires that start after crashes of the car warrant investigation.
Tesla shares rose $1.29, or about 1% to $122.40 in early trading Tuesday. But they have fallen 37% from a high of $193.37 reach on Sept. 30.