It was probably turning out to be one of the best few weeks of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s life and career. First, his company executed a slick, well-controlled launch of what could be its most important product, the Model 3. For an encore, Musk’s space exploration company, SpaceX, successfully landed a rocket on a scow in the Atlantic Ocean, like it was no big deal. And this week, to keep up the buzz, Tesla unveiled a mid-cycle refresh to the Model S sedan, giving the growing model lineup an added shot in the arm.
Even for Tesla, the good-news cycle can't last. Yesterday, it announced a voluntary recall of the initial batch of Model X crossover SUVs that were produced before March 26, 2016. (Own one? Click here to see if your Model X is affected.) The third-row seat, which Tesla sourced from an outside supplier, could become unhinged and slide forward in the event of a crash. According to Tesla, “Despite these prior successful tests and no reports of a third row seat slipping in any customer vehicles, we have decided to conduct a voluntary recall as a precautionary measure and will be replacing all affected third row seat backs.”
The supplier at fault is Australia-based Futuris, according to a Tesla spokesperson, although it's unclear which supplier (in-house or otherwise) will produce the new seats. Tesla is an American auto manufacturer with its management based in Silicon Valley, its products produced in a former GM/Toyota partnership plant in Fremont, California, and its Gigafactory battery facility in Nevada — while its network of suppliers reaches beyond the U.S. borders.
Although the recall is voluntary, Model X owners should definitely take advantage of the opportunity. Until the seat back is replaced, the automaker advises not letting passengers sit in the third row, lest a texting motorist on Beverly Blvd. forgets to slam on the brakes and ruins a Model X’s rear in the morning commute.