Tesla recalls nearly 500K vehicles over safety issues

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Tesla has recalled nearly 500,000 vehicles to address safety issues related to malfunctioning rearview cameras and misaligned hood latches that could increase the risk of accidents, federal safety officials said Thursday.

The recall applies to 356,309 Tesla Model 3 sedans from model years 2017 through 2020, as well as 119,009 Model S vehicles from model years 2014 through 2021, according to letters from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration dated Dec. 29.

The affected Model 3 vehicles may have a damaged rearview camera cable due to repeated opening and closing of their trunk lids, the safety regulator said. The issue could prevent “the rearview camera image from displaying,” according to the NHTSA.

The impacted Model S vehicles may have misaligned front hood latches, which officials said could prevent the hood from properly closing and cause it to “open unexpectedly, obstructing the driver’s view and increasing the risk of a crash.”

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk
Tesla has recalled nearly 500,000 vehicles to address safety issues, federal safety officials said Thursday.
REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Tesla did not immediately return a request for comment. The company’s shares initially fell as much as 3% in trading Thursday, but recovered and were flat as of midday.

Tesla owners affected by the recall will be notified through letters sent out in February. The electric vehicle maker said it was aware of 2,301 warranty claims and 601 field reports regarding the issue with Model 3 vehicles as of mid-December.

Tesla said it was not aware of any crashes, injuries or deaths stemming from either issue. The company plans to fix the defects for free.

The inside of a Tesla car Model 3
The recall applies to 356,309 Tesla Model 3 sedans from model years 2017 through 2020, as well as 119,009 Model S vehicles from model years 2014 through 2021.
AFP via Getty Images

The vehicle recall will unfold amid mounting federal scrutiny of Tesla vehicles. Tesla recently agreed to block access to in-vehicle video games while cars were in motion following pressure from safety officials.

In October, the NHTSA pressed Tesla officials to explain why they didn’t issue a recall when they implemented an earlier software update to correct a safety-related issue with the company’s “Autopilot” semiautonomous driving system.

In August, the NHTSA opened a formal probe into Tesla’s Autopilot function, examining 12 crashes where Tesla vehicles using Autopilot may have failed to detect emergency vehicles.

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