Tesla (TSLA) has now made automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning software available to owners of its latest line of electric vehicles, making the news public just as influential magazine Consumer Reports cut its ratings on the Model X and Model S for lacking these increasingly pivotal safety features.
Consumer Reports, which tends to carry plenty of sway with car buyers and is known to influence share prices, recently lowered its ratings for Tesla’s sedan and crossover because the company failed to deliver on its promise to equip them with automatic braking late last year. Without automatic braking, which uses detecting sensors to slow or stop vehicles when a collision appears imminent, the magazine claimed that Tesla had lost ground to peers, particularly as many of them now offer customers this crucial software designed to prevent crashes and reduce injuries.
“When we purchased our latest test car, we were assured automatic emergency braking would be enabled by the end of 2016,” says Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports’ auto test center in Colchester, Connecticut. “We’ve been waiting for this important safety feature, which is standard equipment on much cheaper cars.”
The magazine, which previously awarded the Model S with an off-the-charts rating in 2015, stripped the company’s flagship car of two points to 85, placing it behind the Lexus LS and BMW 7 Series among the seven vehicles rated. The Model X lost two points for the same reason, bringing its total ranking near the bottom of the luxury midsized SUV category with a score of 56. Consumer Reports promised to reevaluate the scores as soon as Tesla makes automatic braking available to all owners of its electric vehicles. (See also: Tesla Reminds Customers Model S Is Its Best Vehicle.)
Tesla disabled its automatic braking feature last October to coincide with its transition to new hardware, which it claimed would be capable of eventually making all of its cars self-driveable. Last week, the company was hit by a lawsuit for providing faulty autopilot systems on recently sold vehicles. (See also: Tesla Faces New Safety Lawsuit, Refutes Allegations.)