Tesla Motors Inc. co-founder Elon Musk says “there’s definitely not going to be a recall” of the company’s Model S sedan. Ultimately, it’s not up to him.
U.S. regulators’ decision on whether to start a defect investigation, which can lead to a recall, will depend whether they see three fires in five weeks as freak occurrences or evidence of a design flaw in the plug-in car.
“There’s no Pinto moment here,” said Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing at Edmunds.com, an automotive information website based in Santa Monica, California, referring to the Ford Motor Co. car recalled in the 1970s after deadly gasoline fires. “They may look at it and say it’s actually not that bad.”
A fire erupted in a Model S in Tennessee last week after its owner said he ran over a trailer hitch loose in the road at 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour. The circumstances resembled an Oct. 1 incident in Washington state in which a car struck a piece of metal. Another fire occurred after a crash in Mexico that was reported Oct. 18.