Tesla will recall Cybertruck in latest setback

Tesla has agreed to recall nearly 4,000 of its Cybertruck pickups to fix an accelerator pedal that can get stuck, increasing the risk of crashes, a federal safety agency said Friday.

The defect could cause unintended acceleration of the vehicle, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a warning posted on its website. Tesla began selling the Cybertruck, its first pickup truck, in November after many delays.

The recall represents yet another setback for Tesla, the largest electric vehicle maker in the United States. The company has been losing market share to emerging rivals and this month reported that its sales in the first three months of the year fell compared to the same period a year earlier – the first time this has happened since the start of pandemic.

Tesla's recent problems have unnerved investors, and the company's shares are down about 40% this year.

The federal safety agency said all 3,878 Cybertrucks produced on U.S. roads from Nov. 13 to April 4 had the defect, caused by soap used as a lubricant during assembly at Tesla's plant in Austin, Texas. The residual soap “reduced pad retention on the pedal,” the agency said.

Tesla first received a customer complaint on March 31 and completed its evaluation and voluntarily recalled the affected vehicles on April 12, the notice said.

The agency said Tesla was unaware that the defect had caused crashes, injuries or deaths. Some owners of the Cybertruck in recent days have posted videos and photographs on social media describing the defect and claiming that they managed to stop the vehicle by pressing the brake pedal.

Tesla will replace or repair the accelerator pedal on Cybertrucks free of charge, the safety agency said.

The company has faced several recalls over the past year. In February it recalled more than two million vehicles because the font size on the warning panel was too small. In December, the company recalled more than two million vehicles to modify its Autopilot software and provide more prominent warnings reminding drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel when using the system, which can perform certain driving functions.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Elon Musk, the company's CEO, told workers this week that the company would cut 10% of its workforce. On the same day, two senior executives announced they were leaving the company.

The electric car maker has struggled to maintain its recent rapid growth as more established automakers have started making and selling battery-powered cars and demand for such vehicles has slowed. Tesla has been slow to respond to this competition; the Cybertruck was its first new model since 2020, but its unusual angular design and starting price of more than $80,000 are expected to limit its appeal and sales.

Tesla's market share in the U.S. was 51% in the first quarter, down from 62% at the start of 2023, according to Kelley Blue Book.

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