Amid Stock Slide, Tesla Issues Largest Recall to Date

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Tesla’s once sky-high share price has taken a serious hit in recent days, so news of the electric automaker’s recall of 123,000 Model S vehicles couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Describing the recall as voluntary, Tesla sent emails to owners of all Model S electric cars built before April 2016 to warn of an issue affecting the car’s power steering system. The issue involves corrosion impacting the bolts holding the power steering motor to the rack, which can then shear off — leading to a loss of power steering.

The automaker claims it noticed the issue in vehicles operating in cold climates, with calcium and magnesium road salts playing a role.

“Tesla plans to replace all early Model S power steering bolts in all climates worldwide to account for the possibility that the vehicle may later be used in a highly corrosive environment,” the automaker said in its email.

“If the bolts fail, the driver is still able to steer the car, but increased force is required due to loss or reduction of power assist.”

In this case, Bosch supplied Tesla with the affected parts. The issue seems identical to a problem reported last October by a Tesla Motors Club forum poster from Massachusetts, who reported his car’s steering woes to the automaker. The poster wasn’t too pleased when Tesla got back to him, quoting him a price for a new steering rack ($1,920).

After taking the vehicle into a Tesla service center, the poster said, “[The technician] said he’s seen this quite often. Sometimes the assist motor is just hanging there.”

As we said, the recall comes at a bad time for Tesla. The company is pulling out all the stops to reach its already pushed-back Model 3 production goal, even going as far as calling up workers from the Model S and X assembly lines to voluntarily work on the smaller sedan. Bloomberg reports CEO Elon Musk attempted to fire up his factory’s workforce with an appeal to prove the “haters” wrong. (The Reddit-like language is very apropos.)

Musk told workers that hitting a Model 3 output of 300 vehicles per week at its Fremont, California plant would represent an “incredible victory.”

After Musk’s promise of reaching 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of 2017 came and went, the CEO pushed the goalposts further back. The company’s goal is now a production rate of 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of the first quarter of 2018. So, right now. The 5,000 target still stands for the end of June.

In the last two-and-a-half weeks, Tesla has seen its stock slide 23 percent. At the close of trading Thursday, Tesla shares stood at $266.13 — a major comedown from a peak of $383.45 in June of 2017.

[Source: CNBC] [Image: Tesla]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Derekson Derekson on Mar 31, 2018

    Turns out AutoPilot was engaged on the car that crashed into the dividing barrier: https://www.tesla.com/blog/update-last-week’s-accident Surely this will help Tesla's stock price and funding problems.

    • See 2 previous
    • Vulpine Vulpine on Apr 01, 2018

      "In the moments before the collision, which occurred at 9:27 a.m. on Friday, March 23rd, Autopilot was engaged with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum. The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision. The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken." While I will acknowledge that the AP was engaged, based on this data, I have one question: Why did the driver ignore multiple warnings AND a clear view of what was about to happen? Is this another one of those cases where the driver decided to take a nap while trusting the system too much? If, as we have been told, that the supposed owner of this vehicle was aware that said vehicle would swerve at this specific location, why was he not alert and ready to take over... again? Or maybe this was 'suicide by Tesla,' much as we hear of 'suicide by cop', such as occurred right here in my home town not all that long ago? Or maybe he intended to let the car crash and survive--hoping to sue Tesla for whatever he could get. I don't know. I doubt anybody knows. All I want to know now is that if this was the same car as supposedly making that habitual swerve... why was there no reaction this time?

  • John Horner John Horner on Mar 31, 2018

    Manufacturing and selling cars in volume is a serious, exacting business which requires excruciating attention to detail by many thousands of people. Tesla has not demonstrated its capacity to behave accordingly. Tesla routinely releases unfinished, incompletely tested products to the market to be sorted out later ... just like software and internet companies have gotten away with for decades. What Musk & Co. don't understand is how much higher the stakes are for vehicles than they are for a website.

  • Ajla I'm going to whine about it. It should have a V8 available. Preferably a new one but at least offering the old one as a mid-level option. That this brand new engine outperforms something introduced 2003 and last updated in 2009 doesn't impress me. Also, journalists seem to be unaware that it is possible to add forced induction to a V8.
  • Calrson Fan I'll say it again, terrible business model doomed to fail. If your gonna build an EV PU the only market that makes sense to go after is fleets. How many other BEV companies are making money pushing only truck type vehicles?
  • Kcflyer Well it's a better waste of my money than the 1.5 billion sleepy joe's handlers gave away this week to pay for gender studies tuition.
  • Dukeisduke SK Siltron - they make blank wafers, so this isn't really a semiconductor factory (wafer fab). Siltron just polishes wafers sliced from silicon carbide ingots. Sometimes these plants are located close to fabs, sometimes they're halfway around the world from the fabs.Wafer fabs take those wafers and run processes on them (photolithography, etch, deposition, etc.) to produce finished wafers. Those finished wafers go to an assembly/test (A/T) site, where they go through probe and other testing, they're cut up into individual chips and inserted into packages with lead frames. After testing on the finished chips, then they're ready to sell.
  • Argistat If China invades Taiwan (becoming even more likely thanks to DT's isolationist rants) , then the US is completely screwed. If someone tried to list all the manufactured items and manufacturing equipment that contain semiconductor chips, the list would be so long you'd never complete it. Finally a real effort to help bring this into the US.
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