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Auto Safety

Tesla's 2014 Model S Keeps Its Five-Star U.S. Safety Rating


Uncle Sam delivered an early Christmas present to Tesla Motors (TSLA). The electric-auto maker retained its U.S. five-star safety rating for the 2014 Model S, sending the company’s shares 5.5 percent higher on the shortened-trading day before Christmas.

Tesla stock, which has more than quadrupled this year, became extra-volatile in the fall after three Tesla-adjacent fires, including one last month in Orange County, Calif., where a fire started near a Tesla charger. The car did not burn, and investigators were unable to determine if the fire began in the wall socket or the charger itself. The other two fires involved a Model S hitting debris at highway speeds. No one was injured in any of the incidents.

The 2014 Model S kept its ratings from the prior year in crash, rollover, and further tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in an exercise Tesla was quick to tout as disastrous for the testing protocol and not for its $70,000 sedan.

In a Dec. 23 press release, Tesla also said Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority, Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), had recently finished its review of the fire incidents and found no manufacturer-related defects or any need for further action. The Model S is also sold in Europe, and the California-based company began taking orders in China late in the summer.

Bachman is an associate editor for Businessweek.com.

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