Why Tesla’s Many ‘Recalls’ Aren’t Really Recalls

According to figures from Forbes, Tesla has recalled around four million cars since January 2022. While that may seem like a huge number, the automaker fixes most of its problems via simple remote updates, unlike many other brands. And that should encourage them to improve.

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Recall campaigns have been around for decades. They consist for the manufacturers of bringing back cars in circulation in their workshops, in order to correct a design problem, which generally concerns a whole series of vehicles. And all brands use it, from Toyota to the Stellantis group, obviously including Tesla.

Many reminders that are not

The manufacturer Tesla is even accustomed to the fact, as revealed by a recent study published by the American site Forbes. The latter has established a ranking of the brands that most often use recalls: Tesla comes in 2nd place. Indeed, the American brand recalled more than four million cars since January 2022.

An impressive figure, which however remains far behind Ford, with more than nine million vehicles concerned. The latest campaign is currently underway for Elon Musk’s firm and concerns around 1,300 cars due to a problem with the alignment of the camera. And this time, the cars must necessarily go to the garage. But it’s not always the case.

Because if the data announced by Forbes seem very impressive and give an inglorious image of Tesla, all this must be greeted with great tweezers. Indeed, in most cases, the worries are solved via a simple OTA update (over-the-air, remotely). This was the case during the previous “recall” which concerned no less than one million cars.

A software adjustment had thus been enough to solve the problem, related to the closing of the windows. Last February, more than 300,000 cars had also been “recalled” in due to an Autopilot bug fixed remotely. Suffice to say that the term “recall” is in fact not at all suitable to talk about the software problems encountered by Tesla owners.

A very good thing

This is also confirmed by Forbeswhich states that 99% of the four million cars recalled by Tesla were “repaired” via a software update. A proportion which is only 1% at Ford, 2% at Nissan and 17% at Mercedes, which is beginning to very seriously rub shoulders with Tesla with its EQS in particular.

In reality, taking these data into account, the American firm is no longer even in the top 10 of brands carrying out the most recalls in the true sense of the term. Moreover, Elon Musk himself took offense on Twitter (or rather X) for the use of this name to qualify the updates of the brand. This explains that this word is simply anachronistic and false.

Definitely. The word “recall” for an over-the-air software update is anachronistic and just flat wrong!

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 16, 2023

However, it also sometimes happens that the firm’s cars have to go back to the garage, as was the case last November. At that time, 24,000 Model 3s were affected by a seat belt issue. The site’s journalists specify that in most cases, the use of the term “reminder” is however more a misuse of language than an anti-electric car positioning.

Anyway, these figures prove that the Teslas are still relatively well designed and that its strategy of repairing their failures remotely works well. Which could encourage other manufacturers to do the same over the next few years.

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