the least safe car brand on the market?

Like all manufacturers, Tesla has its share of annual recalls. But like none of them, she often prefers silence or reacting under duress. A well-established trademark.

Making cars is not easy, but it’s nothing compared to the services that must be deployed to maintain them and keep customers happy. The very incarnation of this logic which differentiates the major car manufacturers from the “disruptors”, Tesla has just been pinned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in other words the federal agency for road safety in the United States. The 11th recall of the year 2022 concerns an overheating of the multimedia system processor, resulting in neither more nor less than a general malfunction of the central screen. Already annoying on the Model S and X, this glitch even becomes very disabling on the Model 3 and Y, which cannot rely on a speedometer screen behind the steering wheel to display minimum information such as speed or battery reserve. All models combined, 130,000 Tesla, produced between 2021 and 2022, will soon be updatedas revealed by Reuters today.

Reminders galore

In the lot, some Model 3 Performance owners may be able to kill two birds with one stone since 48,000 copies were already to undergo an “Update” last month for a speed display problem in Track mode. Or even kill three birds with one stone since in December 2021, 356,000 Model 3s already had a reversing camera fault.. We could also add the approximately 158,000 Model S and X pinned in 2021 for an infotainment bug. Mainly orchestrated in the United States because imposed on all manufacturers when the agency points out a problem, these recalls do not all require going to Tesla “dealers”. But they are recurrent and, above all, do not only concern software problems, which are a priori not very dangerous.

Last month, the Car-recalls.eu site, which lists all the campaigns carried out in Europe, reported a recall of 200,000 Model S and Model 3 (respective years 2014-2021 and 2017-2021) for a failure of the bonnet lock, which can therefore be opened while driving. A sad echo of these roof panels or its bumpers which suddenly came off and fueled a study conducted by Consumer Reports in 2020. Equivalent to the French “60 Million”, this American consumer association concluded bluntly on the poor quality of manufacture and the lack of seriousness in the assembly of American electricslight years away from the claimed premium image.

Neglect and silence

While no builder is perfect when it comes to reliability, Tesla shines above all by its negligence in the after-sales service, flirting constantly with the legal when it does not flout it openly. But owners don’t know everything, like this contractual ban on using reused parts to repair their car. Imposed by French legislation, this principle is openly ignored by the American manufacturer, which is illegal. Just like not taking back the batteries of its models at the end of their life in Germany, which moreover earned it a fine of 12 million euros in 2020. Barely disturbed by being pointed out in this way, the Palo firm Alto doesn’t care, preferring one-way communication – suppression of the press service in the United States – such as the sudden increase in the price of the Model 3 without any justification. And badly tolerant, moreover, of criticism. However, it must be remembered: Teslas go fast, have good autonomy and offer a digital experience that is currently unmatched, but their reliability leaves something to be desired and the approximations in their manufacture and the management of the after-sales service are legion. Not to mention the hasty development of certain complex technologies. The 13 accident victims of the Autopilot know it.

Published on 05/11/2022 Updated 05/12/2022

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