In a statement, Tesla said a short seller was behind complaints that Tesla cars suddenly accelerated without the driver’s input.
Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it was beginning to investigate consumer complaints about Tesla vehicles accelerating unexpectedly.
Tesla responded today with a statement accusing a short seller, someone speculated about Tesla’s stock price, of filing a complaint with NHTSA — and in fact, CNBC reported this weekend that investor Brian Sparks had in fact filed with NHTSA.
Included in the survey are the 2012–2019 Model S, the 2016–2019 Model X, and the 2018–2019 Model 3.
On January 17, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it would investigate complaints from consumers that their Tesla vehicles suddenly accelerated without any comments from drivers. Today, Tesla posted an answer to news of the investigation with the title ‘No ‘unseen desirable acceleration’ in Tesla cars,” clarifying that the company’s view is one that clearly denies it.
In the post, Tesla alleges that a short seller initiated the lawsuit and asserted that Telsa was transparent with NHTSA about these types of complaints.
“We investigate every incident where the driver alleges to us that their vehicle accelerated contrary to their input and in any case when we have the vehicle’s data, we confirm that the vehicle acts as the design,” the post read.
It continued: “Over the past few years, we have discussed with NHTSA the majority of complaints that are believed to be in the petition. In any case, we have reviewed with them, the data has proven that the car works normally.”
Car and Driver have contacted Tesla for further clarification on what information their investigation may have brought.
The petition is based on “127 consumer complaints with NHTSA involving 123 unique vehicles,” according to NHTSA’s announcement of the safety agency investigation. It added that consumer complaints included reports of 110 crashes and 52 injuries.
On Friday, CNBC reported that investor Brian Sparks had filed a complaint with NHTSA. According to CNBC, Sparks is currently shorting Tesla shares, so part of Tesla’s statement seems correct.
Tesla and in particular its CEO, Elon Musk, have had strained relationships with investors, frequently claiming that short sellers are deliberately betting on Tesla’s success.
Sparks, quoted in CNBC’s story, said he investigated himself and filed with NHTSA after learned of another person, the Model 3 owner, who claimed that her car accelerated twice without her input on separate occasions.
The last major recall of accelerated vehicles involving Toyota and Lexus vehicles. In 2009 and 2010, the automaker issued several recalls to fix mispositioned floor mats and mechanical faults at the gas pedal. In the 1980s, claims that some Audi cars accelerated abruptly led NHTSA to discover that most cases were the driver’s fault.