Last month an article in the Detroit Free Press said Tesla could soon expand America's big three auto makers into the big four. It was a bold claim, but we haven't seen anything to make us disagree. Especially now that Consumer Reports reports Tesla is rated by consumers as fifth among all car manufacturers. 

The magazine conducted a survey of 1,578 vehicle owners in December to find the highest rated brands. Toyota widened its lead from last year over second-rated Ford. Honda and Chevrolet stayed at third and fourth, respectively, with Honda widening the gap between it and Chevy. Tesla took fifth from Mercedes-Benz, which dropped to seventh this year. 

Those surveyed were asked to consider quality, safety, performance, value, fuel economy, design, and technology. Tesla was ranked highest for technology—14 percentage points ahead of second place Mercedes-Benz. 

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[via Consumer Reports