Tesla Motors’ Model S is the ideal luxury passenger vehicle, according to research and consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc.
Tesla’s popularity points to a shift in concerns for today’s drivers and further cements its growing reputation among luxury consumers as they adapt environmental and technologically-minded values.
The 2016 Ideal Vehicle Awards are based on responses from over 65,000 owners of 2015 and 2016 model year vehicles. Consumers were surveyed after 90 days about how 15 different characteristics, including ride and handling, interior storage, safety, technology and power and acceleration, compare with the owner’s expectations at time of buying.
Based on AutoPacific’s surveys, 17 percent of consumers want simpler and more intuitive technology in their vehicle, and 23 percent want more power and acceleration. Among Tesla owners, these numbers are 4 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
While Tesla took home the top luxury awards, the overall winner was the Volvo XC70, also crowned the top aspirational luxury car. The Lincoln MKZ won the award for best luxury mid-size car.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe was named the best premium luxury crossover SUV, while the BMW X3 was awarded as the best crossover SUV.
While luxury brands successfully responded to consumer demand with SUV models, other needs are either constant or unaddressed. Over the past six years, the share of car owners wanting better technology in their vehicle has actually increased, albeit slightly, from 27 percent to 29 percent.
Safety has also emerged as an increasing concern. Six years ago, 17 percent wanted more safety features; today that number has jumped to 26 percent.
The first 90 days of vehicle ownership are crucial, as satisfaction in that period correlates closely with repeat business.
Despite mostly satisfactory showings in AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Awards, a recent J.D. Power study revealed that mass brand automobiles have higher-quality new vehicles than their luxury counterparts.
While premium brands averaged 108 problems per 100 vehicles within the first three months of ownership, non-premium brands averaged 104. Initial quality is correlated with repeat business, suggesting that luxury brands should get back to basics and improve quality control before proceeding to make sales.