Tesla has recalled 675,000 cars in the United States and China over issues with the trunk and front hood of two models, raising new questions about the safety of the popular electric vehicle.
Chinese regulators announced the recall of nearly 200,000 cars on Friday, hours after some 475,000 Tesla vehicles were reported in the United States.
Problems with the trunk and hood increase the risk of accidents, according to U.S. and Chinese regulators.
Authorities have said that repeatedly opening and closing the trunk of the Model 3 can damage a rear-view camera cable.
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a problem with the Model S’s front hood latch could cause it to open without warning and obstruct driver visibility.
Tesla estimates that the issues affect 1% of Model 3 vehicles and 14% of Model S vehicles recalled in the United States, without causing accidents so far.
Mass recalls are not uncommon in the automotive industry.
Volkswagen had to take 8.5 million cars off the road in 2015 due to the Dieselgate scandal, in which the German company admitted to tampering with millions of diesel vehicles to fool emissions tests.
At least 100 million vehicles have been recalled by automakers around the world in recent years due to a defect in airbags manufactured by the bankrupt Japanese group Takata.
Tesla’s recall represents a quarter of the number of cars that Elon Musk’s start-up has produced so far.
âThis is however a red flag for Tesla, with an unpretentious reception in the automotive world which is perhaps more complex than the smartphone industry to which many like to compare it,â said Matthias, German automotive analyst. Schmidt.
âAfter all, a dysfunctional car on four wheels can do a lot more potential damage than a dysfunctional iPhone,â Schmidt said.
In June, Tesla recalled more than 285,000 cars in China over issues with its driver assistance software that could cause accidents.
The company also recalled thousands of Model 3 and Y vehicles earlier this month to inspect brake calipers for loose bolts.
In November, NHTSA recalled nearly 12,000 Tesla cars because of errors with their communications software.
U.S. safety officials are also investigating Tesla’s autopilot after identifying 11 crashes involving the driver assistance system.
The previous month, U.S. road safety regulators asked Tesla for details on issues with its new autonomous system, relying on a previously announced probe.
Tesla executives downplayed the importance of regulatory investigations, saying âcutting edgeâ technology was to be expected and that they were cooperating âas much as possibleâ.
The problems hampered an otherwise record-breaking year for Tesla, which joined the exclusive club of companies with a market cap of $ 1,000 billion.
The company delivered a record 240,000 vehicles in the third quarter, and Tesla billionaire chief Elon Musk was named Personality of the Year by Time magazine.
Tesla’s good fortune contrasts with other mainstream automakers that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and a shortage of semiconductors which are key components in cars.
Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at consultancy firm Global Equities Research, said Tesla’s latest recall was a “non-event” because the company still holds a big advantage over its competitors.