Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk admitted late Monday there was a braking issue with the Model 3 sedan, pointed out by Consumer Reports, and said it can be fixed with a firmware update that the electric car maker will roll out in a few days.
"With further refinement, we can improve braking distance beyond initial specs. Tesla won't stop until Model 3 has better braking than any remotely comparable car," Musk wrote in a tweet.
Musk said Consumer Reports had an early production car and would ask the magazine to test a newer model.
"Model 3 now has improved ride comfort, lower wind noise & many other small improvements," Musk wrote in another tweet.
Consumer Reports on Tuesday said it would be willing to retest the vehicle.
"If Tesla can update the brakes over the air -- an industry first -- we’d be happy to retest our Model 3," said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports' director of automotive testing.
On Monday the magazine said it will not recommend the affordable Model 3, seen as key to Tesla's profitability, as it braked slower than a full-size pickup.
The magazine criticized the Model 3 for having overly long stopping distances and a difficult-to-use center touch screen.
Research analyst Frank Schwope at NordLB called the report a really bad advertisement and could discourage new customers.
The Model 3 began production in July, but the rollout has been hampered by production bottlenecks. The company now plans to build 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of June.
Musk said the variability in stopping distance was due to a braking system calibration algorithm and could indicate some Model 3s took longer to stop than others.
"If so, we will address this at our expense. May just be a question of firmware tuning, in which case can be solved by an OTA software update."
Tesla has had a fraught relationship with Consumer Reports in the past. A year ago, the magazine pulled its top ranking for Tesla's flagship Model S sedan due to the automaker's failure to install an emergency braking feature, but later reinstated it after Tesla performed an OTA to add that feature.
The magazine also did not recommend Tesla's Model X crossover, calling it "more showy than practical."
Neil Saunders, managing director of consumer research house GlobalData Retail, said the braking reports would not deter Tesla fans, "it might raise doubts among the more casual buyer."