Tesla is about to undertake one of its largest-ever safety recalls. Rebecca Elliott reports for The Wall Street Journal:
Tesla Inc. TSLA +4.77% is recalling roughly 135,000 Model S luxury sedans and Model X sport-utility vehicles over touch-screen failures, one of the electric-car maker’s largest-ever safety actions.
The move comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested a recall last month, saying the touch screen in some models can fail when a memory chip runs out of storage capacity, affecting functions such as defrosting, turn-signal functionality and driver assistance.
The agency said the problem affected roughly 158,000 vehicles, including Model S sedans built between 2012 and early 2018 and Model X vehicles made from 2016 through early 2018. The recall doesn’t cover vehicles in that group that have already been repaired with a larger memory chip or an upgraded touch screen, according to NHTSA.
Tesla said in a letter to federal regulators made public Tuesday that while it disagreed that the issue constituted a defect in the vehicles, it was going ahead with a recall to conclude the investigation and provide a better experience for customers.
“It is economically, if not technologically, infeasible to expect that such components can or should be designed to last the vehicle’s entire useful life,” Tesla said in the letter.
While the recall will be modest compared with other car-safety measures, which sometimes affect millions of vehicles, the action represents a relatively large number of Teslas. The company delivered around 500,000 vehicles globally last year, roughly 40% of them in the U.S., according to market-research firm Motor Intelligence. Tesla doesn’t break out its sales by region.
Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights, estimated that the recall could cost around $200 million to $250 million. Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The company’s stock was up around 1% premarket.
Read more here.