Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Tesla undertook its largest voluntary recall ever to solve problems in approximately 475,000 Model 3 and Model S vehicles, which brought a black mark to a company whose cars consistently won among the highest official safety ratings.

The recall was caused by truck cameras and trunk latches, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday, though it added that the problems did not lead to any accidents reported by Tesla.

The recall comes at a time when Tesla was under regulatory investigation over a number of safety issues, though none related to quality issues in its vehicles such as those identified Thursday.

The NHTSA said earlier this month it was investigating a report that Tesla drivers could play video games on their central screens while their vehicles were in motion, and in August it launched a broader review of Tesla’s driver assistance technology known as Autopilot. , after a number of accidents.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday, but Elon Musk, its chief executive, vehemently rejected suggestions that the company had failed to take safety seriously enough. Talk in an interview with the FT this month, he pointed to the high official safety ratings awarded to his vehicles, claiming it had “reached the lowest probability of injury of any cars ever tested by the US government”.

He added: “Far from exposing the regulations, we think it is inadequate and goes far beyond what the regulations require.”

Tesla recalls about 356,309 Model 3 cars manufactured in 2017 to 2020, as well as about 119,009 Model S cars from 2014 to 2021, the NHTSA said in documents Released Thursday. The total is comparable to the 499,550 vehicles that Tesla delivered in 2020, and Thursday’s announcements are the biggest recall for Tesla dating back to at least 2009, according to the NHTSA’s website.

Tesla’s shares fell less than 1 percent on Thursday amid slight US stock index increases.

In January, Tesla 158,000 cars recalled regarding touch screen display issues. In 2016, Tesla 2,700 Model X vehicles recalled about a potential problem with the third-row seats in the back of the car.

For the Model 3 cars, the NHTSA said the rear-view camera cable tree can be damaged by opening and closing the body lid, which prevents the rear-view camera image from being displayed. The front trunk latch for Model S cars may be malfunctioning in a way that prevents the latch from closing, NHTSA said. In either case, Tesla will solve any problems for free.

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