In Another Tesla Crash, 'Driver' Blames Autopilot

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is in the crosshairs in Monday's after-hours trading, with TSLA stock off 2% amid a Wall Street Journal report saying that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Tesla over its timing in disclosing a May 7 crash.

By SEC rules, companies must report "material" events to shareholders, although auto companies do not generally report individual vehicle crashes to investors.

"When Tesla told NHTSA about the accident on May 16th, we had barely started our investigation", the blog post said.

A Tesla Model X reportedly crashed in Montana on Saturday, the driver claims that Autopilot was switched on but the auto drove through the guardrail and went off the road.

It can't come soon enough for investors who want answers after Musk backed Tesla's controversial bid to acquire Solar City and fiercely defended the company's decision not to immediately disclose a deadly accident that raised questions about the company's trail-blazing Autopilot system. A second crash on July 1 by a Model X, reported by CNN Money, put the system under even more scrutiny, and now someone has reported yet another autopilot crash.

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The Wall Street Journal notes that after the public disclosure of the fatal incident on June 30, Tesla shares rose nearly 2 percent, meaning it could be hard for the SEC to argue that investors were harmed by disclosure or lack thereof. Just last week, Tesla announced its shipments had fallen in the past three months, so it's unclear how Musk plans to deliver 80,000 to 90,000 cars this year alone. There has been another crash, though not fatal, it has been blamed on the Autopilot system. Paul Grieco, one of the lawyers for the Brown family, told Reuters his firm has received calls from other Tesla owners involved in accidents, some involving autopilot and others not.

Tesla has not commented on this latest crash. His previous Master Plan published in Y 2006 included details about future products.

The company has been criticised for not telling investors of the death of a Tesla Model S driver.

Despite the company's recent difficulties, Musk's ambitious visions haven't been curbed.

At the same time, Tesla is struggling to meet its targets for building and delivering its Model S sedans and Model X sport utilities.

  • Michael Mitchell