11.19.2013 1

Tesla’s fiery arrogance


As originally published by TheHill.com on 11/18/2013 

by Rick Manning

Crain Communications Automotive News reports that more than 800,000 Volkswagen Tiguan’s are being recalled worldwide based upon 26 complaints received from consumers that the lights in the vehicle go out due to a fuse problem.

This is not remarkable, and Volkswagen is doing the responsible thing by putting its customers first and taking care of this very rare problem expeditiously.

Contrast Volkswagen’s response to that of Tesla Motors, which manufactures electric cars for the wealthy and mega-wealthy and is heavily subsidized by the state and federal governments.

Tesla reports selling fewer than 20,000 S model vehicles as of June, since it rolled out its “inexpensive” $75,000 model.  Of those, three have caught fire due to a defined undercarriage problem where the batteries get punctured by running over road debris.

What is the response of the taxpayer supported Tesla management?

In a Business Insider interview, Tesla owner Elon Musk dismissed concerns that his vehicle is a fire hazard and unsafe saying:

“We literally are in constant contact with them. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulators) NHTSA has real problems to deal with where people die or are seriously injured. Their time is preoccupied with that, not with fictional issues created by the media.”

The hubris of Musk, whose vehicle is increasingly being reduced to a smoldering heap of metal alongside the road, would be humorous if it didn’t reek of unseemly political connections of the favored electric car maker resulting in consumers being put at risk.

If Musk is constantly talking to the NHTSA as he claims, perhaps it is time for Congress to subpoena the notes of those conversations and the inevitable slew of emails they generate to determine if political pull is being put before public safety.

Authors Note:   Since the filing of this commentary, Investor’s Business Daily is reporting that the NHTSA may be opening an investigation of the Tesla fire hazard.  Also, the number of Tesla’s on the road was based upon latest sales figures, as a result, the number of carbeques per vehicle is significantly understated.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is vice president of public policy & communications for Americans for Limited Government and is accused by colleagues of aspiring to be a White House car czar.

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