Tesla to recall 135,000 U.S. vehicles under pressure from auto safety regulators
Tesla Inc has agreed to recall 134,951 Model S and Model X vehicles with touchscreen displays that could fail and raise the risk of a crash after U.S. auto safety regulators sought the recall last month, according to a recall posted on a government website Tuesday, Reuters reports.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made the unusual recall request in a formal Jan. 13 letter to Tesla, saying it had tentatively concluded the 2012-2018 Model S and 2016-2018 Model X vehicles pose a safety issue. Automakers usually agree to voluntary fixes before the auto safety agency formally seeks a recall.
The agency said touchscreen failures posed significant safety issues, including the loss of rearview or backup camera images, exterior turn-signal lighting, and windshield defogging and defrosting systems that “may decrease the driver’s visibility in inclement weather.”
NHTSA had required Tesla to respond to its recall demand by Jan. 27. Tesla agreed that same day to the recall, the company said.
Tesla said in its filing with NHTSA that “in the interest of bringing administrative closure to the investigation and to ensure the best ownership experience for our customers” it agreed to a voluntary recall.
NHTSA opened a probe in June 2020 into complaints that media control unit (MCU) failures led to touchscreen displays not working.
The agency said other automakers issued numerous recalls for similar safety issues stemming from the touchscreen failure.
NHTSA said in November when it upgraded its probe that it reviewed 12,523 claims and complaints about the issue.
NHTSA said last month that “during our review of the data, Tesla provided confirmation that all units will inevitably fail given the memory device’s finite storage capacity.”
The recall will begin March 30. NHTSA sought a recall of 158,000 vehicles but Tesla said the recall does not include some vehicles with upgraded processors built after March 2018.
Tesla said 88% of U.S. owners have gotten over-the-air updates to some functionalities that may be lost if displays fail.