Picture: Reuters.
Picture: Reuters.

New York - An influential US product-testing and review organisation says it can no longer recommend the Tesla Model 3 because owners of the car have complained about problems with body hardware, paint and trim.

"Our latest survey data has surfaced numerous problems reported by Model 3 owners," Consumer Reports said online, explaining the removal of its recommendation for the electric sedan.

The decision by the nonprofit organisation is based on results of its annual reliability survey.

The Model 3, which costs about $44 000 (R616 000) in the US, is critical for Tesla, which hopes it becomes a mass market vehicle. Its other problems since launching in 2017 include production delays resulting in long wait times for buyers.

Tesla said in a statement that it has corrected many of the problems found in the survey.

"Not only are our cars the safest and best performing vehicles available today, we take feedback from our customers very seriously and quickly implement improvements any time we hear about issues," according to the statement, quoted in US media reports.

The majority of the issues have already been corrected through design and manufacturing improvements, Tesla's statement added.

Despite the difficulties, Consumer Reports said the car has "largely lived up to its promise as a highly competitive sports sedan, earning a respectable road-test score, which puts it not far behind the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series."

Neither of Tesla's other cars, the Model S luxury sedan nor the Model X SUV, is recommended by Consumer Reports.

DPA