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Tesla recalling 90,000 sedans over possible seat belt defect

Tesla Motors Inc. is recalling all 90,000 Model S sedans produced to check for a possible defect in the front seat belt assemblies, the company said on Friday.

The recall is worldwide. Most of the affected vehicles are in the United States, with some in Europe and Asia. Shares of the “green” carmaker were down 2.2 percent at $217 on the Nasdaq in early afternoon.

The cost of the worldwide recall will be “immaterial,” the company said. The problem was discovered after a single report to the company in early November of a seatbelt assembly breaking when a customer in the front passenger seat of a Model S on the road in Europe turned to talk with passengers in the rear seat.

There have been no accidents or injuries related to the problem, a Tesla spokesman said on Friday. The company emailed owners of the battery-powered luxury sedan, asking them to bring their cars to one of about 125 Tesla service centers worldwide for an inspection of a bolt that attaches the seat belt mechanism to the body of the car.

“Our investigation was unable to reveal any root cause,” said the Tesla spokesman. “We are going to look at every single car.”

He added: “We expect the vast majority of seatbelts to be fine.”

Last year, Tesla recalled 29,222 model S sedans over a charging defect that could lead to a fire hazard. In 2013, it conducted a recall of 1,228 Model S sedans over the strength of a mounting bracket affecting the second row seat.

Tesla may send service technicians to customers if necessary, the spokesman said. The company sells and services vehicles with its own personnel and stores. Other automakers perform recall repairs through networks of dealers.

Fixing an improperly installed belt assembly will take about 6 minutes, Tesla officials said.

Tesla is telling customers they can test the seat belt assemblies themselves by pulling “very firmly” on the lap portion of the belt with a force of at least 80 pounds. But the company said customers should still visit a Tesla service center.

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