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Tesla accused of ignoring and covering up suspension defects in class action lawsuit

Owners allege Tesla continues to blame drivers for the issue rather than take safety seriously in Model S and Model X electric vehicles.

Now, the everyone will have their day in court.

A new class action lawsuit (PDF) landed on Tesla last Friday as owners allege the California-based automaker continues to ignore suspension safety issues in older Model S and Model X EVs. The suit, filed in a California federal court, spans 101 pages and alleges Tesla not only failed in its duty as an automaker to ensure owners' safety, but it actively worked to cover the problem up.

More bluntly, "Tesla is gambling with the lives and safety of hundreds of thousands of additional drivers and passengers whose vehicles suspension parts [are] at an imminent risk of failure," the litigation says. The lawsuit, which includes dozens of pages dedicated to complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration surrounding the issue, supplies evidence on behalf of plaintiffs alleging Tesla's cover-up scheme. It also points to a recall in China that saw nearly every Model S and Model X sold locally included to address the exact issue Tesla allegedly ignored in the US.

The problem specifically concerns Model S and Model X vehicles built between 2013 and 2018 and focuses on allegedly faulty front and rear suspension control arm assembly components. When these components fail, the wheel begins to separate from the suspension, which causes drivers to lose control of the car. Tesla maintains the issue surfaces due to abuse from drivers; owners disagree strongly. The lawsuit also includes examples indicating some owners saw a wheel completely detach from the car.

According to the plaintiffs, Tesla worked to side-step the massive sums of money it would cost to recall the cars and instead issued minor technical service bulletins to try and address the problems. There are also allegations the automaker required some owners to sign non-disclosure agreements in exchange for "goodwill repairs."

Now, the issue sits in the hands of the legal system. Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment, but in time, we'll know the final outcome of this situation that's remained ongoing for years.

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