Tesla CEO Elon Musk: 37 Suspension Complaints to NHTSA are Fraudulent


Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk defended the company over allegations that its Model S sedan have suspension problems.

In a message posted on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) on Friday, Musk expressed a great concern that “37 of 40 suspension complaints” to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) were “fraudulent.” According to him, the complainants reported false location or vehicle identification numbers.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk--Model S

He also tweeted, “Would seem to indicate that one or more people sought to create the false impression of a safety issue where none existed. Q is why?”

Musk further stated that the NHTSA confirmed that “they found no safety concern with the Model S suspension and have no further need for data from us on this matter.”

No safety defects on Model S, Model X suspensions

Aside from Musk’s defensive comments on Twitter, Tesla also released a statement clarifying that there is no safety defects in the suspensions of its Model S and Mode X vehicles.  The company also made it clear that the NHTSA hasn’t opened any investigation or started any preliminary investigation on the issue.

The electric car manufacturer identified Edward Niedemeyer as the blogger who fabricated the issue. Tesla said he was the same person who wrote the blog, “Tesla Death Watch.

Tesla said, “It is probably wise to take Niedemeyer’s words with at least a small grain of salt.”  The company added that it was uncertain whether the blogger or his associates have something financial to gain by negatively affecting its stock price. However, the electric car manufacturer said, “It is important to highlight that there are several billion dollars in short sale bets against Tesla. This means that there is a strong financial incentive to greatly amplify minor issues and to create false issues from whole cloth.”

Furthermore, Tesla said the NHTSA informally requested information related to its suspension as part of its routine screening on April 20. The company cooperated fully and provided all relevant information to the agency.

Tesla clarified language in non-disclosure agreements

Moreover, Tesla made it clear that it “has never and would never ask a customer to sign a document” that would prevent him or her from reporting to the NHTSA or any other government agency.

The company explained that customers were asked to sign a “Goodwill Agreement,” which was only intended to ensure that “Tesla doesn’t do a good deed, only to have that used against us in court for further gain.”

Tesla usually offers discount or a free repair even if customers reported a problem that wasn’t caused by the car, which is not covered by the warranty. The electric car manufacturer asked customers to sign a Goodwill Agreement in those situations.

On Friday, the NHTSA said “Tesla has clarified the language … in a satisfactory way, resolving the issue” of the nondisclosure agreements.

The agency also stated that it became aware of the company’s “troublesome non-disclosure agreements” and “immediately informed Tesla that any language implying that consumers should not contact the agency regarding safety concerns is unacceptable.”

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