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http://www.autonews.com/article/20160609/OEM11/160609815/

In one, Tesla reportedly offered to pay half of the $3,100 repair bill for a customer whose 2013 Model S suspension failed at just 70,000 miles, according to the post. In exchange, the customer was asked to keep the offer and “incidents or claims leading or related to our provision of the Goodwill,” confidential. The language, the blog post said, appeared to imply that customers accepting the deal would be barred from reporting the incident to NHTSA as a potential safety issue.
 

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Tesla claims that it had to have an NDA, just had to have it, because otherwise it's "good deed" of fixing the problem would end up a liability. Seems more like standard litigation maneuvers than a good deed. I know other manufacturers use similar agreements for settle payments involving accidents but have never heard of them being used for simple repairs.

Another reminder that, though it's very expensive, you'd be wise to get an extended service plan for a Tesla.
 

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I find is interesting that an expensive suspension repair was necessary after 70k miles. I also think it's unacceptable. There might be a reasonable explanation for this incident, but it seems a little suspicious to me. I heard something on the news about exceptional amounts of rust on this vehicle maybe that's an extenuating circumstance, but then why was it so rusty? Excessive rust has also caused manufacturer's recalls.
 

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I find is interesting that an expensive suspension repair was necessary after 70k miles. I also think it's unacceptable. There might be a reasonable explanation for this incident, but it seems a little suspicious to me. I heard something on the news about exceptional amounts of rust on this vehicle maybe that's an extenuating circumstance, but then why was it so rusty? Excessive rust has also caused manufacturer's recalls.
Not on the whole vehicle.
It is not unheard of for this type of corrosion, especially in PA, in far fewer miles in a variety of makes and models.
It is also exceptionally rare.

PA, in the winter, uses a rather caustic mix of salt and a goop to help the salt stay stuck to the road.
Apparently this also causes it to stay stuck to the undercarriage of cars.
 

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Suspension problems may be a bigger issue than the NDA

More interesting developments. The NY Times has picked up the story and has a more in-depth look at the owner. Tesla has claimed that owner lived at the end of a long dirt road and that the car was "caked in dirt" when it was picked up. Hence the suspension failure resulted from a "misuse" of the car.

The owner, who is a Tesla fan and who has two Model 3s on order, says this is a complete fabrication. He says he lives on a paved road and was creeping down a dirt road mushroom hunting when he hit a pothole and the front left wheel simply detached from the car. His concern is that had this happened on the highway it could have been catastrophic.

Doesn't seem to have been an isolated issue. NHTSA says that it has received 33 complaints about suspension since October of last year. Seems like a lot but I'm not an expert.

On the NDA, Tesla says it has changed the language and the owner said he never thought the NDA stopped him from talking about the problem or reporting it to NHTSA.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/11/business/tesla-motors-model-s-suspension.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-0&action=click&contentCollection=Business Day&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article
 

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Hitting a pothole can do serious damage to the suspension, whether it is systemic or not is another matter. To me it fits in with quality concerns in CR and TrueDelta and maybe explains why owner satisfaction is still so high. Overall they do seem to be taking care of custmers unless they do something crazy.

Like the one who hit the accelerator instead of the brake and drove through the side of a building in a new Model X. Your average driver should not have a 500 to 700+ HP car. When you hit the accelerator to the floor it is going to accelerate very quickly. I am not saying that they should not be allowed to, only that they need to treat it with the same respect as a loaded gun. A bit off topic, but it was another Tesla incident in the last few days.

I do think the stock shorters are getting anxious again, people shorting Tesla have lost a lot of money. I try to pop the Tesla hype bubble slightly, but still want to see them succeed.
 

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On the NDA, Tesla says it has changed the language and the owner said he never thought the NDA stopped him from talking about the problem or reporting it to NHTSA.
Ummm, what did the owner think the initials "NDA" stand for? Now Do Arithmetic? Nasty Dog Armpit? No Down Arrow? A non-disclosure agreement means you have accepted a payoff to keep your mouth shut about something... no idea why they are legal in this country but they are.

Keith
 

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Evidently 90%+ of the NHTSA complaints were fraudulent, but I imagine more details will come out.
To be precise, Jalopnik is not saying that 90%+ of the reports are false. It's reporting that Tesla is claiming that 37/40 suspension reports are fraudulent. Of course Tesla also claimed that the individual owner who lost the wheel lived at the end of a long dirt road, which it has now admitted wasn't true. And of course it insinuated that the blogger who reported the incident had a financial interest in seeing Tesla stock price drop, an attack which appears to be untrue and for which Tesla had no factual foundation for making, other than its simple formula: Anyone Reporting a Problem With Our Vehicles = Shortseller.

I've gone back and read the original blog. Seemingly accurate and informative, it points out that many of the reports concerning suspension problems appear to be fraudulent: For several months now, reports have circulated in comment sections and forum threads about a possible defect in Tesla’s vehicles that may cause suspension control arms to break. Many of those reports appeared to come from a single, highly-motivated and potentially unreliable source, a fact which led many to dismiss them as crankery. But as more reports of suspension failure in Teslas have come in, Daily Kanban has investigated the matter and can now report on this deeply troubling issue.

Before addressing the NDA, the piece then addressed the suspension issues, mentioning that Tesla had previously issued a TSB about the issue, which should definitely answer any outstanding questions of whether there is a suspension problem: Daily Kanban has contacted NHTSA asking for confirmation that it is indeed investigating a defect in Tesla’s suspensions and we will post the agency’s response as soon as it arrives. In the meantime, we can not speculate about the nature of this defect beyond pointing out that Tesla itself issued a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) in March of 2015, which indicates that a “known non-safety-related condition” applied to the front lower control arm of the Tesla Model S. That TSB indicates that “greater free play than expected” can develop in the suspension’s steel ball joints, which can damage the aluminum control arm. Not to put too fine a point on it, but article appears to represent careful reporting rather than a "hit piece" by someone fronting short sellers.

Tesla's response to this article seems unjustified. Demonizing a customer when they report a problem won't give customers or potential customers a warm and fuzzy feeling. I'm not an expert, but my sense after looking at the YouTube video is there is a problem with the ball joints. The joint failed completely, which absent unusual circumstances should really should never happen. Given the steel ball joint and the aluminum control arm, galvanic corrosion would seem a likely possibility. Additionally, Tesla sells the vast majority of its vehicles in CA so the problem may arise more in states with colder winters and salted roads, etc. (The Toyota accelerator problems -- which were most definitely real -- followed this pattern).

The possible safety risk is real. As the owner pointed out, losing a wheel at 5 MPH might be disconcerting. Losing one at 65 MPH would be catastrophic. Hence even if the risk of failure is small, the safety concern is large and should be evaluated rather than dismissed with an ill conceived PR snow job.

Given that at this point it's unclear whether the joint problem is widespread or a statistical aberration, it would be in Tesla's interest to resolve the issue as soon as possible in one way or the other. Rather than alleging a giant conspiracy of short sellers, Tesla would be better off starting its own investigation and asking NHTSA to investigate as well. If there isn't a problem this won't be a big deal. In this regard, I thought GM went overboard when the Volt caught fire after the crash test but the whole recall did end questions about fires.
 

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Like the one who hit the accelerator instead of the brake and drove through the side of a building in a new Model X. Your average driver should not have a 500 to 700+ HP car. When you hit the accelerator to the floor it is going to accelerate very quickly. I am not saying that they should not be allowed to, only that they need to treat it with the same respect as a loaded gun. A bit off topic, but it was another Tesla incident in the last few days.
Yup, Tesla has claimed that the Model X hitting the building was 100% no doubt driver error... without ever looking at the Vehicle or conducting a real investigation! Data logs just show what a vehicle sensor was reporting... not if there was a physical problem (floor mat jammed on accelerator) or a physical problem with a sensor (sensor reading 100% when it should read 0%).

I data log my modified cars, data logs of a car with a faulty drive by wire accelerator pedal can show 0% pedal movement when you are doing a full sweep from not pressed to fully depressed, or they can show fully depressed when nobody is touching the pedal. When that sensor is in charge of signaling computer control systems that are in charge of several hundred horsepower this can be a big problem. When you have an "unintended acceleration" problem it can be driver error, sensor error, or software error. Ask Toyota.

The problem with this particular crash isn't Tesla blaming bad driving... it is Tesla blaming bad driving immediately without conducting any real investigation.

Keith
 

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Ummm, what did the owner think the initials "NDA" stand for? Now Do Arithmetic? Nasty Dog Armpit? No Down Arrow? A non-disclosure agreement means you have accepted a payoff to keep your mouth shut about something... no idea why they are legal in this country but they are.
He believed and believes the NDA covered the repair not the problem. IOW he could talk about the failure but not what Tesla had agreed to pay. Agree there is no reason for allowing these.

Officially, NHTSA Finds No Safety Issue In Tesla Model S Investigation, Says Most Claims Were Fake
Note the original article pointed out the dubious nature of many of the complaints. However, I think you always have to read "Officially" as "Currently". Could change tomorrow. I doubt this is the end of it. Might be but Tesla's own TSB together with the video of the joint suggests at least a possibility of a problem. Aluminum and steel tend not to get on well.

What's most interesting is Tesla's response, which isn't what you'd expect from a company which has confidence in its product.
 

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a car with a faulty drive by wire accelerator pedal can show 0% pedal movement when you are doing a full sweep from not pressed to fully depressed, or they can show fully depressed when nobody is touching the pedal.
Ummm this would take quite the complex failure mode to ever occur. The Accelerator Pedal Position (APP)sensor is not a single element design. It utilizes a pair of analog voltage sensors that operate on non-linear opposing voltages. (one voltage is increasing and the other decreasing along different planes)
The correlation of these 2 signals is what creates the throttle pedal input and any miscorrelation between the 2 signals immediately sets a DTC that shuts the motorized throttle down. The system has many layers of fail-safe and is essentially fool proof.

The Toyota lawsuit/s essentially confirmed the safety aspects of throttle by wire in which ALL manufacturers employ these days, however it did result in a "best practices" implementation of a secondary intervention system that brings the throttle plates to zero (just off idle) when a positive (accelerating) APP signal is combined simultaneously with a brake pedal application.
WOT
 

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Hitting a pothole can do serious damage to the suspension, whether it is systemic or not is another matter. To me it fits in with quality concerns in CR and TrueDelta and maybe explains why owner satisfaction is still so high. Overall they do seem to be taking care of custmers unless they do something crazy.

Like the one who hit the accelerator instead of the brake and drove through the side of a building in a new Model X. Your average driver should not have a 500 to 700+ HP car. When you hit the accelerator to the floor it is going to accelerate very quickly. I am not saying that they should not be allowed to, only that they need to treat it with the same respect as a loaded gun. A bit off topic, but it was another Tesla incident in the last few days.

I do think the stock shorters are getting anxious again, people shorting Tesla have lost a lot of money. I try to pop the Tesla hype bubble slightly, but still want to see them succeed.
The other thing to consider is few if anyone needs a car with 500-700+ hp. Obviously it's more dangerous with less competent drivers, but there's little legitimate need for that sort of power on public roads.

Yes I know it's fun...
 

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I deal with NDAs in my job, all the time and this is NOT an NDA. Tesla's wording on the service agreement that explained they were replacing his control arms as a one-time Goodwill gesture, is NOTHING like an NDA. It states that he is out of warranty and he shouldn't expect to get this all the time, and that he is not allowed to sue to get stuff like this all the time. It doesn't say anything about talking to government agencies. The dude and ALL the "news outlets" are making it sound like he was signing something that forced him to not talk about it, especially not "alert the authorities."

And in case anyone hasn't read Tesla's response or any of the dude's posts, here's what happened:
1. Dude lives in a rural-ish part of PA
2. Salt covered roads during winter happen there
3. Dude likes to frequently go off-roading to search for mushrooms
4. Dude's car's ball joint gave out while he was looking for mushrooms down a very bumpy 2 mile dirt/rock road and needed two tow trucks to recover it and tow it to the Service Center. It was "caked in dirt" when it arrived.
5. Dude's car had ~73,000 miles on it, which means it was 23k miles PAST when his warranty expired. Out of warranty for over 23k miles. GM won't touch their cars if they're 5 miles past warranty (from some of the stories here)
6. Tesla, out of goodwill, decided to replace both control arms for free (parts and labor).
7. Dude decides to stab Tesla in the back by trying to open up an investigation with NHTSA because "he thinks it's a common thing and feels for the safety of other Model S owners"

As a Model S owner that care's about safety, I raise my middle finger to that dude.

This is a hit piece, plain and simple.
 

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5. Dude's car had ~73,000 miles on it, which means it was 23k miles PAST when his warranty expired. Out of warranty for over 23k miles. GM won't touch their cars if they're 5 miles past warranty (from some of the stories here)
Why can't you just resist your temptations, and keep GM out of this thread.
They have NOTHING to do with it.
I've personally witnessed GM "goodwill" many hundreds of thousands of dollars of off warranty repairs (and I'm but one witness to it)
They do it a LOT
So your suggestion otherwise is simply baseless in fact
WOT
 

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He believed and believes the NDA covered the repair not the problem. IOW he could talk about the failure but not what Tesla had agreed to pay. Agree there is no reason for allowing these.
The American people were bamboozled by corporate misinformation and propaganda, which lead to our allowing all sorts of business-friendly tort reform. Wouldn't it be nice if we started electing officials who would reverse some of those idiotic reforms? But I digress...

If the owner felt it could be a widespread issue, he was right to report it to the NHTSA. From the sounds of it, many Tesla supporters feel that AWD makes their offerings true CUV/SUVs. I, for one, would be disappointed if a vehicle I considered to be a CUV/SUV had a suspension failure after only 73,000 miles, regardless of how many of those miles were on dirt and non-maintained roads.
 

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Why can't you just resist your temptations, and keep GM out of this thread.
They have NOTHING to do with it.
I've personally witnessed GM "goodwill" many hundreds of thousands of dollars of off warranty repairs (and I'm but one witness to it)
They do it a LOT
So your suggestion otherwise is simply baseless in fact
WOT
Have you ever seen any of GM's franchised dealerships do ~$2000 worth of goodwill service on a car that's 23k miles over its warranty? I was pointing it out because several "GM loyalists" are bashing Tesla for making an "unsafe product".
 

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Disparaging an Tesla owner for reporting a safety concern? Bad form. Dial it back.
A real safety concern would be something happening to the car that's being operated under normal driving conditions and the manufacturer either chooses to ignore it or it's fixed. This guys Model S was being operated WELL outside normal driving conditions on a regular basis and was well outside of warranty. Tesla should have charge him for it, and just explained that his actions were causing the failure. Tesla's niceness got them stabbed in the back.
 
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