Tesla says the recall is unnecessary, but is doing it anyway.
We recently wrote about possible suspension issues in certain Tesla vehicles, specifically with control arms and other important components breaking. It appears the company is taking action, though only in China, only for certain Model S and X units, and only because the Chinese government is forcing it to.
Tesla has announced a recall for 18,182 units of the Model S and X in China. In a letter obtained by Electrek from Elizabeth H. Mykytiuk, Tesla’s managing counsel for regulatory affairs, to NHTSA informing the US government of this recall in China, Tesla disputes the need for a recall and claims it's only doing so because the alternative of having to deal with the Chinese government's consequences is more onerous. Tesla will have to replace the "rear linkages of the left and right front suspension" and the "upper linkages of the left and right rear suspension" with a new, more robust one.
Tesla, however, claims there is no defect causing its suspensions to break, but rather that component failures have been caused by driver abuse – things like striking pot holes too hard or hitting curbs.
The 18,182 vehicles being recalled is a very different number from the one Gasgoo originally reported. According to that first report, China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) wanted the recall of 29,193 Model S and Model X cars manufactured between September 17, 2013, and August 16, 2017, and 19,249 other Model S units produced between September 17, 2013, and October 15, 2018.
While the Gasgoo report does not inform why these two groups seem to be the same, the original recall document was posted by Moneyball on Twitter.
He considered the number to be limited to 29,193 units because of that date coincidence but probably missed the fact that the second group was produced for more time. That would imply a larger number of vehicles involved.
While we thought the precise number of EVs recalled would probably be closer to the one Gasgoo reported, Tesla came up with a smaller number in its letter sent to NHTSA, though doesn't indicate how it came to that number.
It also does not mention why the Chinese administrative process would be a "heavy burden," just that it would be and complying with the recall is easier.What calls our attention is that the recall involves some of the very first Model Ss and Model Xs ever produced. It is not limited to a production interval but extends to all of them up to vehicles produced until 2018. September 17, 2013, was probably chosen as the first date because the first cars exported to China must have started being produced on that date.
It remains to be seen whether US or European authorities will also ask Tesla to issue a recall related to these suspensions, but if they do, Tesla's response to Chinese authorities may indicate the outcome.