(Paris) The young electric car giant Tesla will carry out a new mass recall of vehicles for “potentially” defective trunks on two models in China and the United States, again raising the question of its reliability.
Updated Dec 31. 2021
475,000 vehicles are affected in the United States and nearly 200,000 in China.
The most affected model is the bestseller Model 3. Tesla says “repeated opening and closing of the trunk door” there is “may cause excessive wear on the coaxial cable” connected to the rear view camera, which may render the camera unavailable for the driver.
The other car affected is the luxury Model S. One of the trunk latches located at the front of the vehicle, misaligned, could “open unexpectedly and obstruct the driver’s visibility”.
Tesla estimates that 1% of Model 3s and 14% of Model S recalled in the United States will have the manufacturing defect. The brand stressed that this potential defect had not, to its knowledge, caused any accident or injury.
Major recalls are not uncommon in the automotive industry: Volkswagen recalled 8.5 million vehicles in 2015 following the Dieselgate scandal; an airbag defect also led to the recall of at least 100 million vehicles of all brands, and the bankruptcy of the airbag manufacturer, Takata.
In the case of Tesla, however, this recall represents at least a quarter of the cars ever produced by the young electric car giant, knowing that the total production figure for 2022 is not yet known.
“It’s a wake-up call for Tesla, with a welcome slap in the face from the automotive world, which happens to be perhaps more complex than the smartphone world that many like to compare it to,” commented German expert Matthias Schmidt. . “A problem car can cause much more damage than a faulty iPhone.”
Improper use of the pedal
Tesla had already recalled 285,000 cars in China in June after an anomaly in its assisted driving software, and a few thousand Model 3s and Model Ys in the United States to inspect and tighten, or even replace, bolts in the brake calipers.
Tesla, however, had a good year in an automotive market hard hit by the health crisis and the shortage of electronic chips.
On Wall Street, the company joined in October the very restricted club of groups worth more than 1000 billion dollars on the stock market. It delivered more than 240,000 vehicles in the third quarter, a record. His boss Elon Musk, the richest man on the planet, was named personality of the year by the American magazine Time.
For analyst Trip Chowdhry, from the firm Global Equities Research, the American recall is a “non-event”, Tesla keeping a huge advantage over its competitors with, in particular, its computer development capabilities.
The brand continues to dominate the global market for electric vehicles, where the major manufacturers are only beginning to expand their ranges, such as Ford with its F150 pickup or the world No. 1 Toyota with a cascade of planned launches.
Several controversies have already hit the car brand regarding the safety of its vehicles. In April, Tesla brakes made headlines in China: a disgruntled customer made a splash at the Shanghai show, protesting a supposedly faulty brake system on a vehicle in which loved ones had been injured.
However, the US Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) said in January, after reviewing nearly 250 claims, that the accidents cited could not be attributed to a vehicle defect, but rather to “misuse of the pedal”.
The Autopilot driver assistance system is also under investigation by NHTSA after a series of crashes. The fact that Tesla is testing new driving assistance features in real conditions with ordinary drivers without having specific authorization is also fueling controversy.