Elon Musk

Elon Musk looks up as he addresses guests at an event in Stavanger, Norway on August 29, 2022.

(Photo: Carina Johansen/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

Senators Demand Tesla Recalls After 'Alarming' Reuters Reporting

"Tesla must stop blaming customers and recall their malfunctioning vehicles," said Sen. Ed Markey.

A week after Reutersrevealed that "Tesla blamed drivers for failures of parts it long knew were defective," the news agency exclusively reported Wednesday that a pair of U.S. senators wrote to billionaire CEO Elon Musk to demand vehicle recalls.

Citing the "alarming" journalistic investigation into the electric vehicle (EV) company, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) expressed "extreme concern following recent reporting about Tesla's knowledge of safety flaws in its vehicles and concealment of the causes of these flaws from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration," or NHTSA.

Based on thousands of internal documents from 2016-22 as well as interviews with over 20 customers and nine former Tesla managers or service technicians, Reuters found that tens of thousands of buyers "have experienced premature failures of suspension or steering parts" and "the chronic failures, many in relatively new vehicles, date back at least seven years and stretch across Tesla's model lineup and across the globe."

Reuters reported that the company, which sells directly to customers and controls many of its service centers, "has denied some of the suspension and steering problems in statements to U.S. regulators and the public—and, according to Tesla records, sought to shift some of the resulting repair costs to customers" with language like "driver abuse" and "vehicle misuse."

Blumenthal and Markey—who have previously written to Musk, the world's richest person, about issues at Tesla and publicly shared concerns about the company—wrote that "we are disturbed that you would blame your customers for these failures."

"It is unacceptable that Tesla would not only attempt to shift the responsibility for the substandard quality of its vehicles to the people purchasing them, but also make that same flawed argument to NHTSA," the pair added, calling on Musk to correct "apparent false and misleading representations" made to the federal agency.

While the CEO and company did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment about the initial findings or the senators' letter, the news agency noted that "Tesla's handling of suspension and steering complaints reflects a pattern across Musk's corporate empire of dismissing concerns about safety or other harms raised by customers, workers, and others as he rushes to roll out new products or expand sales."

Musk's other business ventures include Neuralink, OpenAI, SpaceX, the Boring Company, and X, formerly Twitter.

The senators' recall demand comes as both the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the Swedish Transport Agency investigate issues with Tesla vehicles. Tesla is also facing further trouble across Scandinavia: Unoinized workers in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden have made clear they won't help the company circumvent a work stoppage launched in October by Swedish service center mechanics.

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