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Tesla Motors recalls 345 Roadster sports cars

Electric-car maker Tesla blames a possible suspension problem on bolts that were improperly installed on the rear chassis 'of a small percentage' of Roadsters by British automaker Lotus.

May 29, 2009|Martin Zimmerman

Electric-car maker Tesla Motors said Thursday that it was recalling all 345 of its Roadster sports cars produced before April 22 so they could be inspected for a possible suspension problem.

Tesla blamed the problem on bolts that were improperly installed on the rear chassis "of a small percentage" of Roadsters by British automaker Lotus. The Roadsters, which sell for $109,000, are assembled in Britain by Lotus and then shipped to California, where Tesla installs the cars' batteries and electric powertrain.

Tesla said no accidents had been reported as a result of the defect, which it said was unrelated to the powertrain.

Lotus is recalling 27 of its 2009 Elise and Exige sports cars with the same suspension problem, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "If the problem is not addressed promptly, the driver could lose control of the vehicle, resulting in a crash," the agency said in its recall notice.

Lotus could not be reached for comment late Thursday

Tesla, based in San Carlos, Calif., has delivered almost 500 of the two-seat Roadsters. The firm said it found the problem after an owner reported "uncharacteristic handling."

The company said it would send technicians to customers' homes to make the needed repairs free of charge or pick up the cars and take them into a service center to do the work.

"We plan to do everything we can to address this matter swiftly and keep customers satisfied," said Greg Zanghi, Tesla's director of service and parts operations. The company declined to disclose how much the recall would cost.

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martin.zimmerman @latimes.com

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