Image Credit: Tesla Motors

Tesla Issues Voluntary Model X Recall Of About 2,700 Units For Third-Row Seats Issue

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

Tesla has issued a voluntary recall for around 2,700 early Model Xs following failed internal company strength testing of the third-row seats.

The issue in question pertains to Model X SUVs produced before March 26th — parts received by an outside supplier and installed before that date are possibly defective, resulting in possible forward movement of the seats during a crash.

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Here are exact words used by Tesla on the matter (from an email sent out to the Model X owners affected):

We are emailing to inform you of a proactive action Tesla is taking to ensure your safety as a Model X owner. Tesla’s internally conducted crash testing demonstrates that Model X will be the first SUV to receive the highest safety rating in every category, and we are committed to ensuring that it remains the safest SUV in the world.

Recently, during an internal seat strength test that was conducted prior to the start of Model X deliveries in Europe, the recliner in a third row Model X seat unexpectedly slipped. The recliner, which is provided to us by an outside supplier, is the locking hinge that allows the third row seat back to fold forward, and if a recliner were to slip during a crash, the seat back could move forward. Similar testing was conducted before the start of deliveries in North America, with 15 confirmation tests having been conducted without a single recliner failure. Despite these prior successful tests and no reports of a third row seat slipping in any customer vehicles, we have decided to conduct a voluntary recall as a precautionary measure and will be replacing all affected third row seat backs.

So, while some in the media will no doubt spin this as an example of how Tesla isn’t up to the tasks that it’s set for itself, the reality simply seems to be that the company is “perfectionistic” — for lack of a better word. I suppose that the company could always ignore the possible problem (thus forgoing the possibly negative PR) and wait until the bodies start piling up, as most auto manufacturers do, but why would that be a good thing?

Out of all the things that Tesla seems to do differently than the other auto-manufacturers, I’d have to say the willingness to regularly admit when there are possible problems and issue voluntary recalls is probably the one that stands out the most to me. Most auto-manufacturers seem to take the exact opposite approach.

Here’s more from the recent email to expand on that:

A fix to this issue is already in place. We have worked with our supplier to develop a new recliner design with improved quality that resolved the issue. We are now constructing new third row seat backs to match all affected vehicles. Your service center will contact you to schedule the installation of your replacement seat backs as soon as they are available. Based on current production rates, we expect all replacements to be completed on a rolling basis over the next five weeks. We will accelerate this timing if possible.

Until the recall is performed, you may make full use of your Model X, although we ask that you temporarily not have anyone sit in the third row seats while the car is in use. We recognize that not having the use of your third row seats for the next few weeks will be an inconvenience, but your safety is our primary concern. We assure you that we are building your new seat backs as fast as we can.

Reprinted with permission.


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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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