In 2013 Tesla claimed that it had the best safety rating of any car ever tested. A recent study has now shown this to be false, and the Tesla Model S is no longer the safest car ever tested. A more rigorous, and strict testing group Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced that Tesla Model S did not receive either of its awards. This was due to the Tesla Model S having a dummy’s head hit the steering wheel on one of the five crashes. To be a 2017 Top Safety Pick a vehicle must have a “good” in five crash tests, and have an “advanced” or “superior” rating for frontal crash prevention, which includes emergency braking. To get the Top Safety Pick+ the vehicle must also have an “acceptable” or “good” headlight rating. The Tesla Model S received an “acceptable rating in a front end crash causing it to drop from contention for either award. The IIHS claimed that the seatbelt was much too loose, and ended with the driver’s head being tossed into the steering wheel with enough force to cause facial fracturing, or a concussion. The Tesla Model S headlights were also rated “poor”. Tesla still claims to have the lowest probability of injury of any car tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and they expect to receive the highest possible ranking in every category making it eligible for the IIHS Top Safety Pick Award.
When viewing this ethically it is imperative that Tesla report the findings of the IIHS and NHSTA. If they do not some consumers may purchase the Model S for the safe vehicle they assume they are receiving. As of now the Model S falls short to seven other car models, most of these cost less than a Model S. Honesty is highly important to business, and is one of the topics we discussed in class. If Tesla was going to allow for its consumers to believe that it is among the safest vehicles to travel in it would certainly be a shot to their social honesty as a producer. This would also be a severe attack to their trustworthiness. Tesla would most likely lose many future customers because of this information not being stated in the forefront. Tesla at the moment is viewed as a pure company because of their integration of fully electric vehicles. Them allowing for their consumers to believe they are purchasing one of the safest cars, while actually receiving an average vehicle, would greatly affect the perception they have around them. If Tesla is not able to change their vehicle to meet the standards of the IIHS and receive a top safety pick award, then it would be to their best interests in the long run to ensure that they keep their honesty and trustworthiness. Not disclosing this new information would result in an overall loss of customers and increased skepticism of an otherwise spotless company.