“Sudden unintended acceleration.” It’s an American term for a conspicuously American problem.
Audi fiasco of the 80s? Only in America.
Toyota fiasco of 2009-2011? Only in America.
As Tesla goes through the hazing ritual that every automaker must suffer in order to make it big in the USA — enduring a barrage of stupidity from every direction — the company’s unique connectivity with its fleet is proving vital yet again. Years ago, Tesla’s data logs debunked a NYT hit piece by proving the writer went out of his way to sabotage his Tesla. More recently, Tesla’s connectivity has helped avert costly recalls by allowing over-the-air fixes. (Lexus can’t even fix a little glitch in its navigation system without dragging its customers back to dealerships.) And now Tesla’s data are defusing SUA claims. Most go like this: “I hit the brake yet the car surged forward. And the harder I pressed on the brake, the faster the car went.” Alrighty then. You can find these complaints against every car brand on the NHTSA click-to-whine website. They’re quite ordinary.
But Tesla is no ordinary brand. And so we gawk. For the time being, each SUA claim will provide the “headline of the day” until it the infantile press becomes bored and moves on. That shouldn’t take long. Meanwhile, it’s fun to watch Tesla use its copious data logs to effortlessly play Whac-A-Mole with these SUA claims while other automakers have struggled like Bill Murray once struggled with groundhogs: No extermination, yet lots of collateral damage.
The one place you’ll hear groaning about Tesla’s connectivity? The plaintiffs’ bar.