Tesla recalls Model S/X cars in China over faulty suspension

A Tesla Model S (L) and Model X are displayed at a shopping mall in Hong Kong on March 10, 2019.

Vivek Prakash | AFP | Getty Images

Tesla is recalling 48,442 of its Model S and Model X electric vehicles, which were made in the U.S. and sold to customers in China, over potentially faulty and unsafe front and rear suspensions.

The China State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) announced the recall Thursday night.

China’s auto industry news site, Gasgoo, reported that the recall affects 29,193 imported Model Ss and Model Xs, produced between Sept. 17, 2013 and Aug. 16, 2017, and 19,249 imported Model Ss produced there between Sept. 17, 2013, and October 15, 2018. The cars were produced at Tesla’s Fremont, California, vehicle assembly plant.

The SAMR has compelled Tesla to replace the rear linkages of their left and right front suspension, and the upper linkages of the left and right rear suspension, with an improved one for all the cars that are part of the recall at no cost to the owners.

In 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk defended himself against similar complaints of potentially unsafe or faulty suspensions in the Model S in the U.S.

At that time, Musk declared on Twitter and in a corporate blog post that the U.S. auto safety authority, NHTSA, “found no safety concern with the Model S suspension and have no further need for data from us on this matter.” He also claimed that complaints about suspension issues to NHTSA were fabricated.

Tesla and NHTSA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In China, this is Tesla’s fourth recall of Tesla’s cars exported from the U.S. Earlier recalls in China involved replacing faulty airbags made by Takata, and fixing or preventing steering problems.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s Made-in-China Model 3 electric sedan is the best-selling battery electric model in China so far this year. China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) reports that Tesla sold 79,908 units of the made-in-China Model 3 sedan during the first nine months of 2020.

Tesla recently began exporting some of those made-in-China Model 3s to Europe.

Tesla shares were down more than 2% in mid-day trading Friday.

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