Tesla recalling all Model S sedans for seat belt issue

Associated Press

Tesla Motors is recalling its entire fleet of Model S sedans to check their front seat belts after one passenger’s seat belt became disconnected.

The recall — the company’s largest ever — involves 90,000 cars worldwide. Tesla sent an email Friday to affected customers.

Tesla’s other vehicles, the Model X SUV and the Roadster, aren’t affected. Seat belts in the back seat of the Model S also aren’t affected.

About two weeks ago, Tesla said, a customer in Europe reported that her seat belt disconnected when she turned to talk to rear passengers. The woman was not injured and her car has been repaired.

Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s vice president of business development, speaking in Detroit Friday to the Automotive Press Association, said the idea of a seat belt issue was disturbing and the company went ahead with a voluntary safety recall “out of an abundance of caution.”

“Our north star for these things is what’s right for the customer,” he said.

Palo Alto, California-based Tesla believes the seat belt anchors weren’t properly bolted together in that case. The company has inspected 3,000 other Model S sedans and hasn’t found a problem, but it wants to inspect all seat belts to make sure.

Tesla owners are being asked to schedule a visit to a Tesla service center for an inspection. Around 83 percent of Tesla owners are within a 25-minute drive of the company’s 125 service centers worldwide, the company said. Tesla may send mobile teams to customers who are far from a service center.

Tesla has recalled the Model S several times before. Most recently, in January 2014, it updated some cars’ software to prevent connector adapters from overheating while the car is charging. But this is Tesla’s largest recall to date.

The company said it has informed government agencies in the U.S., Europe, China and elsewhere.

Tesla said the recall wasn’t expected to have a material impact on its earnings. Tesla shares fell $6.09, or 2.8 percent, to $215.71 following the announcement.

Detroit News staff writer Melissa Burden contributed.