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May 22, 2024

Tesla Initiates Largest Recall to Date, Impacting 2.2 Million Vehicles

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Feb 4, 2024

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla has issued a voluntary recall impacting nearly every vehicle it has produced for the US market, spanning years 2012 through 2023. With over 2.2 million vehicles affected, this marks the largest recall event in Tesla’s history.

Recall Triggered by Subpar Warning Light Font Size

The recall was prompted by an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into a complaint that the font size used for some warning indicator lights was too small.

Specifically, the agency was concerned with the brake warning telltale lights activating upon brake circuit degradation or failure. Their position is that the smaller than regulated font “could increase the risk of a crash” if drivers do not notice the warning light activation.

While Tesla maintained that there have been no reports of crashes or injuries related to this issue, they ultimately agreed to issue a voluntary recall and address the font size concern.

Recall Will Be Completed via Over-the-Air Software Updates

A key fact around this recall is that the font size issue will be corrected via an over-the-air software update that will be pushed out to vehicles remotely. This means Tesla owners will not have to bring their vehicles into service centers for the recall resolution.

The company has become known for its capability to address many issues that would traditionally require physical vehicle recalls via remote software updates. While some critics argue this capability is being overused to avoid formal recalls, Tesla maintains that over-the-air updates provide the flexibility and convenience of addressing issues faster and more efficiently.

Resolution Method Number of Vehicles
Over-the-air software update 2,189,052
Dealership visit required 0

Models and Model Years Impacted

The font size recall impacts nearly every Tesla vehicle sold in recent years in the US market. This encompasses the full range of models across 2012-2023 model years:

  • Model S – 2012-2023
  • Model X – 2016-2023
  • Model 3 – 2017-2023
  • Model Y – 2020-2023
  • Cybertruck – 2023

With many of these vehicles still on the roads, it represents a sizable portion of the Tesla fleet needing software updates.

Latest in a String of Recent Tesla Recalls and Investigations

While an over 2 million vehicle recall related to font size may seem trivial to some, it represents the latest in a string of escalating scrutiny and recalls that Tesla has faced recently:

  • January 2023 – Recall of nearly 200,000 vehicles to address rearview camera issues
  • December 2022 – Multiple investigations opened into Tesla’s problematic automatic emergency braking system, which has been linked to crashes
  • November 2022 – Recall of over 40,000 vehicles due to potential power steering loss while driving

In aggregate, Tesla has now recalled over 3.7 million electric vehicles in the past several months. This level of recalls exceeds those issued by many larger automotive manufacturers.

Regulators seem to be taking an increasingly harsh stance of holding Tesla accountable to the same standards and scrutiny given to established automakers.

Next Steps: Owner Notification and Completion Timeline

With the recall issued on February 2nd, 2024, Tesla will begin the process of notifying owners that an over-the-air update is required.

The NHTSA recall report calls for owner notification to begin by April 3, 2024. Tesla will send out emails, mail, and in-app notifications alerting owners to the need for the update.

As for the completion timeline, Tesla states that over-the-air updates will be made available on a rolling basis over the next 2 months. They expect to have the software updates completed across the full 2.2 million vehicles by May 2024.

Potential Impacts: Tesla’s Brand and Future Recalls

It remains to be seen what impacts this massive font size recall, and the spate of recent recalls, may have on Tesla perceptions and sales moving forward.

Some analysts think that the over-the-air update approach and relatively minor nature of the issues may limit any fallout. However, in combination with past scrutiny around quality control and safety issues, it may contribute to the erosion of Tesla’s pristine brand image.

At minimum, Tesla can expect regulators will be closely monitoring its vehicles and operations for the foreseeable future. Any minor issues could trigger formal defect investigations and recalls until the company can demonstrate improved consistency in meeting compliance standards.

For a company that has built so much momentum around exciting innovation and the future of transportation, recent recalls like this font size issue represent an unwanted distraction. Tesla will need to demonstrate that, alongside their cutting-edge technologies, they can also master the basic blocking and tackling of safety and compliance.

AiBot

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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