Tesla issues its fourth recall in China. Curiously, though, it puts the blame on drivers and the Chinese government.
American automaker Tesla has issued a voluntary recall of almost 30,000 Model S and Model X produced between September 17, 2013, and January 15, 2018, in Tesla’s Fremont facility, then imported in China.
The China State Administration for Market Regulation announced the recall on October 22, consequently causing Tesla’s share price to drop by nearly 2% the next day.
The problem seems to lie in the front and rear suspension. For the front suspension, Tesla has stated that upon “large external impact,” the rear connecting rod’s studs may start to develop a crack. Over time, the crack might propagate and cause the connecting rod to break. This might cause problems with the vehicle and increase the chances of accidents or other safety issues. It is possible (but not necessarily) for all recalled vehicles to have both irregularities.
The story is somewhat similar in the rear suspension; here, it is the upper connecting rod that might break under “large external impact,” such as going through potholes. NHTSA had investigated Tesla vehicles for a similar problem a few years ago but didn’t find any irregularities.
Tesla Beijing will have to replace the rear link of the front suspension and the upper link of the rear suspension. Meanwhile, all concerned owners should drive their vehicles carefully and avoid major impacts.
Tesla later said that it doesn’t believe anything is wrong with its cars. Moreover, the brand stated the Chinese government forced them to issue the recall. Nevertheless, Tesla thought it would be easier to issue the recall than challenge the Chinese administrative authorities.
Tesla even wrote a letter to the NHTSA, expressing its disappointment with the decision and even stated said that the fault might occur due to driver error. The manufacturer believes the root cause to be “driver abuse.” Is Tesla implying that Chinese people are worse drivers than others?
Unfortunately, neither the NHTSA nor Tesla issued a public statement as of yet. It remains to be seen if this action prompts regulators from other countries to revisit the issue.