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5/29/2009
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Tesla Recalls 345 Electric Roadsters

No accidents have been reported, but the recall covers all of the luxury automobiles built before April 22.

Tesla Roadster
(click image for larger view)
Tesla Roadster

Tesla Motors has recalled the $109,000 version of its electric Roadster because of bolts improperly installed by contract manufacturer Lotus.

The recall covers all 345 of the luxury automobile built before April 22, the Silicon Valley company said. No accidents have been reported as a result of the flaw.

The problem came to light after a Roadster owner complained of "uncharacteristic handling," Tesla said. An investigation found that the rear inner hub flange bolts on a small percentage of the vehicles were improperly torqued during assembly. A similar problem is behind Lotus' current recall of its Elise and Exige vehicles.

Tesla said it would send technicians to car owners' homes or offices to inspect their vehicles and take them to a repair facility, if needed. Customers will not be charged for the repair.

The Sport sells for a staring price of $128,000.

In March, Tesla unveiled a prototype of its "mainstream" $57,400 electric sedan called the Model S. Tesla expects to start production of the vehicle in late 2011.

It remains to be seen whether startup Tesla can be successful at a time when the auto industry is reeling from multibillion-dollar losses and needs government bailouts to remain solvent as consumers cut back spending in the economic recession. Tesla is banking on receiving $350 million in federal loans to build the Model S assembly plant in California. The automaker has applied for the loans through the Department of Energy, but they haven't been approved.


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