Arizona residents who own a Tesla Model X SUV crossover or Model S sedan may soon be receiving recall notices. The California-based electric car maker has announced that it is voluntarily recalling 53,000 vehicles because of a problem with their parking brakes. Tesla claims that the announcement was prompted by caution rather safety concerns and that the problem will likely be found in less than 5 percent of the vehicles recalled.
According to Tesla, a small component of the Model X and Model S electric parking systems could break leaving vehicles stuck with their parking brakes engaged. Tesla is blaming the sloppy manufacturing practices of one of its vendors for the defect. Tesla also blamed its suppliers for a problem with the door hinges fitted to Model X SUVs when they recalled 2,700 vehicles in April 2016. Tesla claims that the defect does not pose a danger to drivers and knows of no accidents or injuries related to it. The affected vehicles were manufactured between February and October 2016.
Tesla has had a number of quality control issues in recent years. The company received more than 400,000 preorders when it unveiled the Model X, but the crossover SUV has been criticized harshly for reliability issues and problems with its Falcon wing doors by media outlets including Consumer Reports and the Wall Street Journal.
Companies concerned about public perception and their brand images often blame defects on suppliers or vendors, but these arguments are unlikely to gain much traction in a courtroom. Manufacturers are expected to do all they reasonably can to ensure that their products are safe when used for their intended purpose, and meeting this duty involves monitoring the activities of suppliers and subcontractors. When defective products cause injury, loss or damage, experienced personal injury attorneys may file product liability lawsuits against negligent manufacturers.
Source: Ars Technica, "Tesla recalls 53,000 vehicles built in 2016 over faulty parking brake", Jonathan Gitlin, April 24, 2017