Tesla has seen a sharp decline in recalls so far this year compared to 2022, according to a recent article by Barron's (via Not A Tesla App).
Tesla recalled a total of 3.8 million vehicles in 2022, but only about 439,000 in 2023 so far, with the sharp decline suggesting a significant improvement in Tesla's quality control and production standards.
The steep reduction in recalls also suggests that Tesla has kept the promise made at its Investor Day 2023 to enhance quality control and production standards. If Tesla's recalls continue at the same pace, the automaker is projected to hit approximately 550,000 recalls by the end of the year.
That's quite low compared to the competition. For example, US automakers (Detroit Three + Tesla) collectively recalled over 16 million vehicles in the US in 2023, compared to 19 million in 2022. Last year, Tesla accounted for 20 percent of all US auto recalls, while now it represents just 2.7 percent of all recalls.
It's worth mentioning that most Tesla recalls are typically fixed through over-the-air software updates. Tesla differentiates itself from many rivals in that it offers advanced over-the-air (OTA) software update capability on all its vehicles. Since Teslas are software-defined vehicles, the automaker is able to fix remotely some issues that appear on its vehicles.
The OTA updates are cost-effective and efficient for the company, as well as less disruptive for the customer. For example, the recent recall related to a warning light for detecting low brake fluid on certain Tesla Model X vehicles was rectified through an over-the-air software update.
Is it accurate to label these OTA updates as recalls, however? Tesla CEO Elon Musk last year called the NHTSA's terminology "outdated" and "inaccurate," suggesting that the agency needs to stop calling OTA updates recalls. Then in February 2023, he said using the word "recall" for an over-the-air software update is "anachronistic and just flat wrong."
However, NHTSA states that manufacturers are required to initiate recalls for any repair, including software updates. According to the auto safety watchdog's description, a software update still falls under the definition of a "recall."
Since Tesla has pioneered the use of OTA technology in the auto industry and is the world's largest EV producer, it is also the automaker with the highest number of recalls rectified through OTA updates.