Norway Regulator Investigates Tesla Over Suspension Failures

Tesla is currently under scrutiny by Norway’s traffic safety regulator, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA), for potential suspension failures in its legacy Model S and X vehicles. This investigation could lead to a recall, as informed by the agency to Reuters.

Senior engineer at NPRA, Tor-Ove Satren, revealed that the agency began inquiring into Tesla’s suspension issues in September 2022 following consumer complaints about lower rear control arms breaking in the Model S and X vehicles. “If we determine these parts pose a serious risk, we may recommend Tesla recall all model years of the S and X vehicles to replace rear lower control arms,” Satren stated.

The NPRA’s decision, expected by Christmas, could range from closing the review without action, extending the investigation, or recommending a recall. The agency holds the authority to order a recall if Tesla refuses to comply voluntarily.

This inquiry follows a Reuters investigation that highlighted frequent failures of Tesla’s suspension and steering parts, which the company has often attributed to “driver abuse.” The investigation, based on Tesla documents and interviews with former employees, including service managers and technicians in Norway, indicated that Tesla faced high warranty costs and attempted to reduce expenses by blaming drivers for these failures.

The NPRA’s regulatory review was triggered by over ten customer reports in 2022 about sudden breakages of suspension parts like the control arm. One customer, expressing concern, urged the regulator to take action, stating, “Control arm broken off. This is a damage MANY other Teslas have received. Direct traffic hazard.”

Another customer recounted a near-miss incident, saying, “On Saturday, the suspension broke on our Tesla Model S, only luck that no serious accident happened.”

Satren noted that some consumers reported control arm failures shortly after inspections by Tesla service centers. One Tesla owner shared with Reuters that despite a technician’s assurance of no damage in June 2022, the part broke two weeks later.

Since Tesla’s entry into the Norwegian market in 2013, it has seen significant adoption, with 123,642 Tesla cars registered in Norway, according to the Norwegian Road Federation.

The NPRA had a final meeting with Tesla this month, following initial contact in September 2022. If a recall is recommended or ordered, the NPRA may report the issue to the European Union’s Safety Gate, alerting Tesla owners and EU member states to the potential suspension failures.

Despite Tesla’s recent modifications to the lower rear control arm, Satren emphasized, “Still, there are a lot of cars with these issues on the road.” This investigation underscores the ongoing challenges in ensuring vehicle safety and reliability in the rapidly evolving electric vehicle market.