Tesla said Friday it was recalling all 90,000 of its Model S luxury electric cars sold worldwide since 2012 after discovering a security problem with seatbelts.
The front seatbelts failed to correctly fasten, but no accidents or injuries had been reported as a result, Tesla said, in a blow to its stellar reputation.
In an email to customers, Tesla said it was ordering the recall as a “proactive” step after learning of a Model S in Europe with a front seatbelt “that was not properly connected to the outboard lap pretensioner.”
“This vehicle was not involved in a crash and there were no injuries. However, in the event of a crash, a seatbelt in this condition would not provide full protection,” the email said.
The notice said the company had inspected 3,000 vehicles and found no issues, but “we have decided to conduct a voluntary recall as a proactive and precautionary measure to inspect all front Model S seatbelts and make absolutely sure that they are properly connected.”
Tesla’s cars have been in high demand, despite a price tag of $70,000 and up, and the vehicles had won much praise — until a recent Consumer Reports review which highlighted problems with the Model S.
Some analysts see Tesla’s innovations as driving a new model for the auto sector, and predict it can grow from its small base into a major producer.
Tesla plans to unveil its Model 3 electric car aimed at less affluent buyers in March 2016.
Model 3, whose price is estimated at $35,000 — half the cost of other Teslas — is seen as key to expansion for the carmaker, which has a loyal following among well-heeled buyers.