158,000 Tesla recall for touchscreen failures
The United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Tesla Inc to recall 158,000 Model S and Model X vehicles over media control unit failures that could pose safety risks by leading to touchscreen displays not working.
The auto safety agency made the unusual request in a formal letter to Tesla after upgrading a safety probe in November, saying it had tentatively concluded the 2012-2018 Model S and 2016-2018 Model X vehicles “contain a defect related to motor vehicle safety.”
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment but it must respond to NHTSA by January 27. If it does not agree it must provide the agency “with a full explanation of its decision.”
It is unusual for the agency to formally demand a recall. Automakers typically voluntarily agree to a recall if sought in discussions by regulators.
The agency said on Wednesday it sought the recall after considering “Tesla’s technical briefing presentation ... and evaluated Tesla’s assertions.”
NHTSA added that “during our review of the data, Tesla provided confirmation that all units will inevitably fail given the memory device’s finite storage capacity.”
NHTSA said other automakers have issued numerous recalls for similar safety issues, the agency told Tesla, including a detailed list of prior callbacks.
The agency said touchscreen failures pose significant safety issues, including the loss of rearview/backup camera images. It noted nine prior recalls by other automakers for similar problems.