Tesla's newest target: Consumer Reports

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the delivery of the first Tesla Model 3 vehicles in Fremont, US, 28 July 2017.
Andrej Sokolow | picture-alliance/dpa | AP

There's no mistaking what Tesla thinks of Consumer Reports.

After Consumer Reports' auto team predicted Tesla's new Model 3 would have "average reliability," Tesla blasted the magazine.

"Time and time again, our own data shows that Consumer Reports' automotive reporting is consistently inaccurate and misleading to consumers," the electric-car maker said.

Tesla does have a valid complaint that Consumer Reports has yet to drive the Model 3 so it's hard to understand how it can predict the new car's reliability. But Tesla's beef with Consumer Reports goes well beyond this Model 3 prediction.

The automaker thinks Consumer Reports has conducted tests and surveys that "lack basic scientific integrity." To back up that accusation, Tesla pointed out three times since July 2016 when it says Consumer Reports published inaccurate or misleading reports.

"We have urged them multiple times to correct this, and they've refused," Tesla said. "We believe this refusal is rooted in the fact that their coverage of Tesla generates significant attention for the publication."

Has focusing on Tesla raised Consumer Reports profile? You bet. After the magazine called the Model S the best car it had ever tested, it generated massive attention. That was in 2013. When Consumer Reports praised the car, Tesla had no issues with the magazine's approach to assessing cars.

Even in 2015, when Consumer Reports downgraded the Model S reliability ranking to "worse than average," CEO Elon Musk still cited Consumer Reports statistics in defending the electric car. He tweeted, "Tesla gets top rating of any company in service. Most important, CR says 97 percent of owners expect their next car to be a Tesla (the acid test)."


At that time, Musk said Tesla had already fixed some of the issues that Consumer Reports had included in their assessment.


Now that Tesla has ripped Consumer Reports' integrity, the question is whether it will change how the magazine's auto team views Musk's company or the Model 3.

For now, Consumer Reports is not responding to Tesla's complaints.

As for the Model 3, Jake Fisher, the head of Consumer Reports auto team says, "We are going to be purchasing one of these cars, we will be testing it and if it tests ok it may be a vehicle that could be recommended."

WATCH: Consumer Reports ranks auto brands on reliability

Consumer Reports ranks auto brands by reliability
Consumer Reports ranks auto brands by reliability