Tesla Says German Agency’s Review Clears Model S Car After Fires

By Alan Ohnsman | December 3, 2013

Tesla Motors Inc.’s Model S, the electric car being investigated for a possible U.S. recall, was cleared of any safety defect in a review by Germany’s transportation regulator, the company said.

Tesla had been asked to provide technical data to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority after three recent crashes involving the Model S that ended in fires, the Palo Alto, California-based company said in a statement yesterday. The German agency, like the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has authority to request recalls if a defect is discovered, Tesla said.

“No manufacturer-related defects could be found,” Tesla said, citing documents from the agency. “Therefore, no further measures under the German Product Safety Act are deemed necessary.”

TeslaTesla, led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, has been the fastest-growing automotive stock in the world this year as the company expanded sales of its Model S premium sedans priced from $70,000 to more than $100,000. The shares have tumbled in the past month as the company posted third-quarter results that fell short of some analysts’ estimates and amid reports of the crash-related fires.

“German govt reviews Tesla Model S fires,” Musk said in a Twitter post yesterday. “All due to high speed impacts, no injuries. Concludes: no defects, no recall.”

Tesla sells the Model S in certain European markets and starting selling the sedan in Germany in the second half.

The NHTSA said last month it would look into the fire risks from the undercarriage of the Model S striking objects. In two such U.S. cases, one on Oct. 1 in Washington state and another in Tennessee on Nov. 6, Model S drivers hit metallic road debris that caused battery-casing damage and resulted in fires.

The U.S. agency hasn’t yet announced the results of its investigation.

Tesla fell 2.4 percent to $124.17 at the close in New York yesterday. While the shares have slumped 36 percent since peaking at $193.37 on Sept. 30, they have more than tripled this year.

(Editors: Ben Livesey, James Callan, Stephen West)

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