Tesla is recalling roughly 30,000 imported cars in China that have problems with their suspensions, regulators said Friday.
The electric-car maker has identified two different suspension defects in some imported Model S and Model X vehicles produced between Sept. 17, 2013, and Jan. 15, 2018, according to China’s State Administration for Market Regulation.
More than 18,000 of the affected vehicles potentially have both of the defects, which could affect control of the car, the agency said in a news release. Tesla will repair the affected cars for free “to eliminate potential safety hazards,” officials said.
The recall affects most of the imported cars that Tesla has sold in China in recent years, according to Bloomberg News. China is considered an important market for the Silicon Valley automaker’s growth, and it opened a factory to manufacture cars in Shanghai last year.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. But the company sent a letter to US regulators arguing the recall was unnecessary and that the suspension problems were caused by “driver abuse” rather than any defect, according to industry blog Electrek.
“Due to the opinion of [Chinese officials] that the topic required a recall in the China market, Tesla was left with the choice of either voluntarily recalling the subject vehicles or carrying a heavy burden through the Chinese administrative process,” Elizabeth H. Mykytiuk, Tesla’s managing counsel for regulatory affairs, reportedly wrote to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
There are more than 450 electric-car producers in China, which is the world’s largest market for electric vehicles, according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies. California-based Tesla has typically sold just a few hundred imported vehicles there each month after it started manufacturing cars locally around the start of this year, Bloomberg reported.
The recall came two days after Tesla reported its fifth straight quarterly profit despite headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic. The company, led by billionaire CEO Elon Musk, also stood by its pledge to deliver 500,000 vehicles this year, which will depend on increased output from its Shanghai plant.
Tesla’s stock price was down 1.8 percent at $418.05 as of 3:06 p.m. Friday.