The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reviewing reports of suspension problems in Tesla Motors’ Model S sedans, and probing whether the firm urged customers to sign agreements not to disclose the problem, Reuters reported.
The agency is seeking additional information from vehicle owners and the company on matters related to the suspected suspension problems, a spokesman was quoted as saying.
The safety review follows reports of a possible defect in the Model S that may cause suspension control arms to break, which could cause the driver to lose control of the car.
A review is a step before the NHTSA decides whether to open a formal investigation leading to a potential safety recall, the report noted.
In addition, NHTSA said it learned that Tesla had entered into what it called a “troublesome non-disclosure agreement” with a Model S owner who had suspension problems.
NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind was quoted as saying that the agency is in “data collection mode.”
It is not clear how many other similar non-disclosure agreements, if any, Tesla may have with other owners, he said.
The possible safety defect in the Tesla Model S was reported on earlier this week by an auto-oriented website dailykanban.com.
The website linked to a Model S owner who wrote on a Tesla fan website that said he had suspension problems and had received an email from an NHTSA investigator.
The owner said Tesla agreed to pay 50 percent of a US$3,100 repair bill if the owner agreed to keep confidential the arrangement.
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