Car-safety regulators urge Tesla to recall about 158,000 vehicles

Federal regulators are asking Tesla Inc. to recall about 158,000 vehicles over safety concerns, which would amount to one of the largest safety actions by an electric-vehicle manufacturer.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Tesla in a January 13 letter to recall some Model S luxury sedans and Model X sport-utility vehicles. NHTSA asked for a recall because the cars’ touch screens could fail after a few years of use, affecting safety functions such as defogging and back-up cameras.

Some car protections run in millions of vehicles. However, modest by historical numbers, the task would represent a relatively large recall for Tesla, which has far fewer cars on the road than some rivals. According to market research firm Motor Intelligence, the Silicon Valley carmaker delivered about 500,000 vehicles globally last year, of which about 205,600 were in the US. Tesla does not break its sales by region.

Tesla does not need to recall the vehicles, although NHTSA stated in the letter that if the carmaker did not take action, it would have to provide an explanation for its decision. The agency can then extend the case to a public hearing and eventually try to recall it through the courts.

Sam Abulesimid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights, said the recall request was significant and could cost $ 300 million to $ 500 million to find out.


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