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Tesla to Recall Nearly 50,000 Model S and X Vehicles in China Over Safety Concerns

By Scott Levine – Updated Oct 23, 2020 at 4:01PM

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This appears to be a minor bump in the road for the carmaker.

When it reported strong third-quarter earnings on Wednesday, Tesla (TSLA 10.97%) delighted investors. The week, however, is ending on a less auspicious note for the automaker with its announcement that it's recalling almost 50,000 vehicles that it exported to China. At issue are potential defects in the suspensions of 29,193 Model S and Model X vehicles manufactured in the U.S. between Sept. 17, 2013, and Aug. 16, 2017, as well as 19,249 Model S vehicles produced between Sept. 17, 2013, and Oct. 15, 2018.

According to Gasgoo, a Chinese website that reports on that nation's auto industry, China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) is requesting that the carmaker replace the rear linkages of the left and right front suspension and the upper linkages of the left and right rear suspension for all affected vehicles at no cost to the vehicles' owners.

Recall spelled out with wooden blocks.

Image source: Getty Images.

While China is insistent that Tesla attend to the alleged safety issue, the company has voiced its opposition to the recall. In a letter sent to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that Electrek, a website that focuses on the electric transportation industry, obtained, Elizabeth H. Mykytiuk, Tesla's managing counsel for regulatory affairs, implied that China had left the company with little choice in the matter. Mykytiuk stated:

"Due to the opinion of SAMR/DPAC that the topic required a recall in the China market, Tesla was left with the choice of either voluntarily recalling the subject vehicles or carrying a heavy burden through the Chinese administrative process. While Tesla disagrees with the opinion of SAMR/DPAC, the Company has decided not to dispute a recall for the China market only."

Furthermore, Mykytiuk contends that the alleged issue is not reflective of any defect in the vehicles' parts or manufacture, but rather that it stems from "driver abuse" in how people operate the vehicles. 

Scott Levine has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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