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Tesla Refutes Concerns Over Model S Suspensions, Confidentiality Agreements

Tesla adamantly denied reports of suspension problems in its Model S luxury sedan after federal regulators said that they would review the matter.

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Tesla Motors on Thursday adamantly denied reports of suspension problems in its Model S luxury sedan after federal regulators said that they would review the matter.

The electric car manufacturer characterized the review as "routine screening" and said that it is aware of all problems with individual vehicles because "we own all of our service centers."

"Whenever there is even a potential issue with one of those parts, we investigate fully," the company wrote in a blog post. "This, combined with extensive durability testing, gives us high confidence in our suspensions."

Earlier in the day, a spokesman for the National Highway Safety Administration said that the agency was "seeking additional information from vehicle owners and the company" about the "potential suspension issue."

The company responded that it cooperated fully with the NHTSA and the agency required "no further information."

The controversy, Reuters reported, stemmed from a report by auto website dailykanban.com that cited complaints from Model S owners about the car's suspension. The defect could reportedly cause suspension control arms to break and cause the driver to lose control.

One owner, who posted on a Tesla fan website about his suspension problems, also indicated that he was contacted by the NHTSA and that Tesla paid half his repair bill in exchange for confidentiality.

The NHTSA indicated this week that it learned of a "troublesome nondisclosure agreement" in May.

"The agency immediately informed Tesla that any language implying that consumers should not contact the agency regarding safety concerns is unacceptable, and NHTSA expects Tesla to eliminate any such language," officials added, according to Reuters.

Tesla wrote in the blog post that the car cited by dailykanban.com had more than 70,000 miles on it and "experienced very abnormal rust" β€” potentially due to the owner's residence on a long dirt road.

(AP Photo)(AP Photo)

It also said that the document signed by the driver was a "Goodwill Agreement" designed to cover repairs outside the automaker's warranty obligations.

"This agreement never even comes close to mentioning NHTSA or the government and it has nothing to do with trying to stop someone from communicating with NHTSA or the government about our cars," Tesla wrote.

The company also took a shot at the "blogger who fabricated this issue," a Tesla critic named Edward Niedermayer, and noted "several billion dollars in short sale bets against Tesla."

"We are not and have never claimed to be perfect," the automaker wrote. "However, we strongly believe in trying to do the right thing and, when we fall short, taking immediate corrective action."

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