U.S. reviewing suspension complaints in Tesla Model S cars

Thu Jun 9, 2016 6:32pm EDT
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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal regulator said on Thursday it is reviewing reports of suspension problems in Tesla Motors Inc's (TSLA.O: Quote) Model S sedans, and is investigating whether the company urged customers to sign agreements not to disclose the problem.

A spokesman for the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), Bryan Thomas, said the agency is "examining the potential suspension issue on the Tesla Model S, and is seeking additional information from vehicle owners and the company."

The safety review follows reports of a possible defect in the Tesla Model S that may cause suspension control arms to break, which could cause the driver to lose control of the car.

A review is a step before the agency decides whether to open a formal investigation leading to a potential safety recall.

In addition, NHTSA said it learned that Tesla had entered into what it called a "troublesome nondisclosure agreement" with a Tesla Model S owner who had suspension problems.

A Tesla spokeswoman said she was looking into NHTSA's statement, declining to immediately elaborate.

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in an interview on the sidelines of a transportation event in Washington that the agency is in "data collection mode."

"Part of what we have to figure out is whether or not (non disclosure agreements) might have impeded people making (complaints)," Rosekind said, adding that the agency has been in touch with Tesla seeking information. "Our folks were on this right away."   Continued...

A Tesla logo hang on a building outside of a Tesla dealership in New York, U.S., April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson