Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Praised By Consumer Reports; Ford Panned

What a day, what a week, what a month, what a year, what a ride. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) can seem to do wrong in any of those measures. Just hours after Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) more than doubled its best case price target to $320 for the upstart automaker, Consumer Reports has given Tesla the highest ranking the magazine has ever given.

Unreal ranking and stock move

Based on survey results from 1.1 million subscribers, the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue ranked Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Model S the top overall pick. The ratings factor in quality, reliability and consumer satisfaction.

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The dual news has Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) trading at $254.69 an all-time high that will likely not stand at the end of the day’s trading. Shares of Tesla are up $36.90 at the time of this writing (1:16PM EST) or 17.10%.

“Tesla is going up against established brands, and yet it is schooling them on how to make a high-tech car,” said Jeff Bartlett, deputy editor, autos, at Consumer Reports. “It excels in all areas that we measure.”

While Morgan Stanley’s price target will not be reached today, it appears, though hardly guaranteed, that Tesla will have no trouble reaching this price in the future. It’s important to note that Tesla has some huge milestones ahead of it in the coming weeks including CEO Elon Musk’s trip to China where he will deliver Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s first Model S to the mainland.

“Tesla has proven they can go from nothing to building a highly regarded car right out of the gate,” Bartlett said. “One would think they can continue to improve.”

Ford falters

While Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and its investors must be positively giddy today, that won’t be found throughout the boardrooms of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) following the same Consumer Reports story today.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s ranking fell to 50, marking the lowest it has reached since Alan Mulally took over as CEO in 2006. While the “50” is only slightly lower than last year’s number, it places Ford only above Jeep in customer satisfaction.

Driving the scores down, pun intended, was the biggest complaint from Ford owners – the reliability of their Ford Sync and MyFord Touch in-car connectivity systems.

“Sync and MyFord Touch have proved to be an Achilles’ heel … with the system locking up or being slow to respond,” Bartlett said. “It is bringing Ford’s overall reliability down.”

It’s unfortunate for the automaker given that the company is producing some good cars.

“We’ve seen this trend over the last few years,” Bartlett said. “Some of these new Fords are quite nice, so these scores are disheartening. Ford needs to roll up its sleeves to make sure the new models live up to the brand’s long-term reputation.”

What a difference a brand makes.