Recall: Tesla's vehicles get recalled a lot, but does it matter?

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On Saturday, Tesla announced the recall of more than 321,000 vehicles over a software glitch disabling the tail lights of some cars. That came just a day after the company recalled 30,000 Model X SUVs due to problems with the front passenger airbag. This follows on from multiple issues this year, including a September recall in which more than a million Tesla vehicles were potentially affected by a problem with the powerful automatic windows.

All told, data from the NHTSA shows that Tesla’s tally of recalls this year in the US is now up to 19, with 3.8m vehicles potentially affected. That's a lot considering Tesla is not one of the largest volume manufacturers in the country. Indeed, only Ford drivers have been more heavily impacted by issues this year, with approximately 8.1m Fords caught up in the company's 63 recalls.

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In fairness to Tesla, these days the word “recall” is something of a misnomer — gone are the days when vehicles always had to physically go into the repair shop. The vast majority of these recalls, including Tesla's latest, are now fixed by an over-the-air software update. That means almost no effort, or cost, is required on the part of owners to fix the issue.

"Recalls" aside, Tesla’s market value has fallen $670bn from its peak last year, a decline equivalent to losing the value of 3 Disneys or 4 Nikes. Despite that, Tesla remains the most valuable automaker in the world, worth two-and-a-half times as much as Toyota in second place.

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