A Mercedes-Benz dealership in Texas has reportedly handed out a printed copy of an article detailing the recent Tesla Autopilot recall, which was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last week.
Tesla immediately deployed a software update to fix issues stated in the recall, which was announced on Wednesday after a roughly two-year NHTSA investigation into Autopilot. Following the fix, however, one Mercedes-Benz dealership in Houston, Texas, was caught apparently giving a customer a printed handout of the story from CNN, as shared by one user in the Tesla Club of Greater Houston group on Facebook on Sunday (via X user BrianX2023).
In the original post, the author writes that a friend with a Tesla Model Y Performance was given the printed article when bringing her Mercedes into the dealer for a service appointment, alongside a business card from salesperson Christopher O’banion at the Mercedes of Houston Greenway location. You can see the photo of the printed article and business card below, as shared on X.
Wow that’s just sad Mercedes. pic.twitter.com/LT4M5dawwV
— Brian G (@BrianX2023) December 16, 2023
To be sure, the move is a pretty bizarre one, and it seems to indicate the dealership’s concerns about competition from Tesla, especially considering that the aforementioned “recall” was already fixed with an update. It’s not clear if the article is being handed out to multiple customers, or just this person who already owns a Tesla. In any case, however, it looks pretty strange coming from an official Mercedes dealer.
At the time of writing, the salesperson listed on the business card, Christopher O’banion, has not responded to Teslarati’s emailed request for comment.
The term “recall” has been widely criticized by those in the Tesla community for being inaccurate, especially in cases where the issues are fixed instantly with an update rather than needing to be brought into a service center to be fixed.
While the sweeping NHTSA recall notice applied to over two million Tesla vehicles, the automaker deployed a free over-the-air (OTA) software update on Wednesday to address the issues, which the agency said were related to Autopilot’s Autosteer system not checking enough on driver attentiveness. The update debuted additional safety checks and controls for Autopilot to remind drivers to continue paying attention, as detailed below from the recall notice.
“At no cost to customers, affected vehicles will receive an over-the-air software remedy, which is expected to begin deploying to certain affected vehicles on or shortly after December 12, 2023, with software version 2023.44.30. Remaining affected vehicles will receive an over-the-air software remedy at a later date.
“The remedy will incorporate additional controls and alerts to those already existing on affected vehicles to further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility whenever Autosteer is engaged, which includes keeping their hands on the steering wheel and paying attention to the roadway.
“Depending on vehicle hardware, the additional controls will include, among others, increasing the prominence of visual alerts on the user interface, simplifying engagement and disengagement of Autosteer, additional checks upon engaging Autosteer and while using the feature outside controlled access highways and when approaching traffic controls, and eventual suspension from Autosteer use if the driver repeatedly fails to demonstrate continuous and sustained driving responsibility while the feature is engaged.”
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