Tesla Issues Partial Model S Recall

Today Tesla issued a partial recall for Model S cars built between May 10, 2013 and June 8, 2013.

The recall is for a potentially weakened mounting bracket for the left hand latch of the second row seat, and concerns are that if a crash occurred, the left-hand rear seat may not be properly retained.

This news was delivered by Elon Musk, Chairman, Product Architect & CEO in a blog post, and he explained the seat’s striker bracket is welded and bonded to doubly reinforce the attachment. Either one would be ordinarily strong enough by itself, he said, and he added that the Model S was designed with safety as a top priority.

Cars affected by the recall however may have had the bonds and welds compromised following side alignment adjustments during manufacture.

Musk emphasized that “undue alarm” is not warranted, and pointed out the following:

• The weld has not actually detached on any car
• There have been no customer complaints
• We are not aware of any injuries or near injuries
• No regulatory agency brought this to our attention

“However, given the paramount importance of safety, we would like to reinforce the left striker bracket on cars produced during this period,” Musk wrote. “This work has already been performed on cars that were in the factory, so the recall applies only to cars delivered in mid to late May and early June.”

The fix will be a reinforcement procedure performed by Tesla regional service centers with blitzkrieg-like efficiency to minimize down time. Owners of affected cars will be contacted and arrangements will be made to pick up their Model S at a convenient location, and if needed, a Model S loaner will be provided.

Musk said owners need not drop off their cars at the service centers, and the nearly seamless transaction will involve return of the car within a few hours.

This fast turn around is reminiscent of recalls made by start-up Fisker Automotive which moved with great speed and in cases, extra cost to itself, in order to expedite repairs – and do PR damage control – with adopters of the new technology.

The hasty and minimally invasive recall campaign also fits the general operating ethic of Tesla which strives to maximize customer satisfaction and deliver a pinnacle among ownership “experience” for those who’ve paid for what it describes as the best cars in the world.