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Tesla scrutinized by US agency over Model 3 safety claims


The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tesla Inc last year for not complying with the agency’s guidelines in its Model 3 safety assertions and subpoenaed the carmaker for information on several crashes, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

The auto safety agency's letter said that Tesla's blog from October last year about Model 3 having the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by NHTSA was inconsistent with the agency's usage guidelines, Bloomberg reported, citing documents released by legal transparency group PlainSite.

The agency also asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate if the statements constituted unfair or deceptive practices, Bloomberg reported.

"This is not the first time that Tesla has disregarded the guidelines in a manner that may lead to consumer confusion and give Tesla an unfair market advantage," Bloomberg quoted NHTSA Chief Counsel Jonathan Morrison as saying in an Oct. 17 letter addressed to Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk.

NHTSA said last year that Tesla’s claims of Model 3 electric car having the lowest risk of occupant injury of any vehicle in U.S. government tests goes beyond the scope of its analysis and noted the need to create safety ratings for areas of vehicle performance not currently rated by it.

Tesla did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment by phone and email. NHTSA also did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.