Tesla keeps putting other luxury brands in the rear-view mirror in a number of ways. The most recent: Tesla ranked above any other luxury brand in Consumer Reports magazine's measurement of "brand perceptions" by American consumers, ahead of next-ranking premium brand Mercedes-Benz.
It's another in a series of kudos from Consumer Reports that have helped lift esteem for Tesla and its single vehicle, the Model S all-electric sports car. Last year the magazine found Tesla as the best car it ever had tested when Model S owners gave the vehicle 99 points out of 100 possible in a survey.
In this report, there's also good news for Toyota, which scored a substantial victory over all other brands and gained smartly over the previous year as American consumers, at least, seem largely to have forgotten the brand's unintended-acceleration mess—for which it is still working out a legal settlement.
Ford gained too, and was at No. 2 overall, followed by Honda, which lost ground, and Chevrolet, which gained significantly. Tesla was next followed by Subaru and then Mercedes.
Worst overall was Land Rover, barely bettered by Maserati and Jaguar. The survey asked consumers how they perceived brands in quality, safety, performance, value, fuel economy, design/style and technology/innovation.
The magazine particularly raved about Tesla's No. 1 showing in the technology/innovation metrix. Model S, Consumer Reports said, "is a rolling showcase for vanguard technology, with its potential 225-plus-mile electric-only range, gigantic touch screen control interface motorized door handles, and available third-row seat. With the Model S, surprises and delights are bountiful."
Also important to Model S is that it continue to avoid another type of "surprise": under-hood fires like the three last year that whacked its stock value and prompted a federal-government investigation. A good sign for Tesla is that no more fires have been reported.
The US highway-safety agency may yet untrack Tesla when investigation results are revealed. But for now, American consumers—and Consumer Reports—are liking the brand more and more.