Dear "5.4 Star" Tesla, Tone Down Hyperbolic Hype, Love NHTSA

Tyler Durden's picture

Encapsulating all that is wrong with the raise-your-stock-price-by-hyperbole-alone strategy of most new 'tech' firms, Tesla's recent claim of a "5.4 Stars - out of 5" safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) perhaps takes the biscuit. But as Jalopnik reports, the NHTSA is not standing for the lies anymore and has issues a statement explaining to car-makers that NHTSA does not award higher than a 5-star rating - advertisers should avoid "double" 5-star rating, numbers greater than 5, and using the terms "perfect," "safest," "flawless" or "best in class" are misleading. What will Elon Musk do now?



Via Jalopnik,

To be fair to Tesla, the Model S did score incredibly well in the safety tests, proving the inherent safety possible in a modern rear-engine design, incorporating as it does such a substantial frontal crumple zone to absorb collision energy. Tesla's justification for the extra 0.4 star (astronomically, I think that would be a white dwarf, right?) is explained in their press release:

NHTSA does not publish a star rating above 5, however safety levels better than 5 stars are captured in the overall Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars.

which still means Tesla did their own thing with the ratings standard. If they had the data that gave them the number, you can't really blame them for trying, but safety rating standards are one of those things that are important enough to keep everyone playing with the same tools. So that means no more than 5...


and the NHTSA's response...(PDF here)

NHTSA does not award higher than a 5-star rating. Thus, advertisers should not use terms such as "double" 5-star rating when a vehicle has received a 5-star rating for both the driver and the right-front passenger seating positions. An advertisement should not claim that a vehicle earned a rating higher than 5-stars.




Language referring to "doubling," "tripling" or "quadrupling" of a star rating is misleading...


Words such as "perfect," "safest," "flawless" or "best in class" to describe a particular star rating or the Overall Vehicle Score received by the vehicle are misleading...

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Headbanger's picture

But BMW is the ULTIMATE Driving Machine!!    Not..

So better get on their ass too for such bullshit.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

that smug cock has an infinitely better life than I ever will but I wholeheartedly agree.


As an aside, Jalopnik has had a teenage psycho ex girlfriend level hate on for tesla for years which is both amusing and sort of pathetic.

superflex's picture

Hopefully for $80,000, you get a nomex suit.

jcaz's picture

Not gonna help- at the temp those batteries burn,  Nomex goes up like cotton.....

slaughterer's picture

TSLA started rallying the second this story appeared on ZH.


Winston Churchill's picture

Not even QE can save this dog.

I've been out of the market since 2007, but I might just come back in to short

Tesla all the way down to Chapter 7..

NotAMathWhiz's picture

So, they're really good, unless they catch on fire?

yrbmegr's picture

Like every other car, except the others aren't as good.

ejmoosa's picture

Had Obama said it, it would be perfectly acceptable.

Dr. Engali's picture

They would have gotten a 8 out of 5 if they didn't have the propensity to catch on fire.

texas sandman's picture

10 out of 8 people have trouble with math.

JustObserving's picture

"How can I make money without lying? " aks Elon.  After all that is Obama's way.  And you cannot make billions without lying.

Besides,  I am selling a dream not a crematorium.

Yenbot's picture

Another selling point. Endorsed by the Neptune Society.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Government does not test for spontaneous combustion?

Freddie's picture

Only the alaphabet spy agencies like NS, CI and DI all of them end in the letter A.  Edward Sn*wden never worked for DI-A as far as I know but he worked for the other two.

They test on Mercedes driven by reporters who actually do their job.   LA has always been a weird spook town.  See RFK's murder and Laurel Canyon project.

yrbmegr's picture

What do you mean by "spontaneous"?

FuzzyDunlop21's picture

Apparently safe =/= fireproof

Mercury's picture

What first responder will be eager to take the Jaws of Life to a car with 400 volt wires running through it?

Urban Redneck's picture

Cali SLACKERS... they went to work on the car without immobilizing it first.

(that's the type of first responder who doesn't bother to disconnect both the 12v & Hv batteries and winds up making an even bigger mess of the situation)

fooshorter's picture

I hear Donald Trump should be Teslas new PR guy..


yuk yuk yuk

LawsofPhysics's picture

But who wouldn't love a car you can also roast marshmellows over?  I can't see a problem here.

clumb's picture

mr musk would just put his burning stuff into his vacuum tube air, no burn...comprehende? that's a 5.4 star solution!

ebworthen's picture

Tesla, Green Mountain Coffee, Chipotle, Netflix, Yahoo - on and on - long list of overvalued hyped stocks bid to the moon by momentum chasers and institutional QE worshippers.

Talk about miss-allocations of resources and capital!  It boggles the mind.

Freddie's picture

Dude it is worse that that.  If you are a friend of O - your company gets QE Fed fiat HFT algo money thrown at it to pump up the stock.

Just like facist Italy, Nazi Germany and other places.  Companies that support the police state are supported by the state.  Yahoo's CEO was an Obama bundler.

22winmag's picture

BMW: the ultimate driving machine.


Tesla: the ultimate self-immolation machine.

ShrNfr's picture

It burns, Precious gets them aways from us, it burns.

adr's picture

I wonder if Tesla is working on the next iteration of the Model S? I haven't heard anything about that. We've seen the Model S for about four years now and it isn't aging well. The vague, Aston Martin Jaguarish styling just doesn't have enough pop. To me the car looks cheap in person, especially the odd flush door handles.

The Model X will cannibalize sales of the Model S instead of adding to Tesla's overall numbers. The buyers in the premium luxury market change cars every two to three years. If there isn't a new model with new gadgets to excite them, they will leave the brand in a heartbeat, planet saving battery engine or not.

conspicio's picture

Those who live in mountain areas will not buy the Model X because you cannot put a ski rack, bike rack, or a rocket box on that thing with the "falcon" doors. Carry bikes behind? Nope, the thing is NOT hitch compatible either. The only thing that works is a Saris bones type carrier that hangs via straps and then you have to deal with the rakish back end. And nope, not gonna put $10K worth of carbon bikes on that, so good luck with getting your target demo to shell out over the other SUVs. Epic fail.

Freddie's picture


It is weird you mentioned that as I have thought the same thing.  The new Mazda 6 looks like the S as does the Kia Optima.  You are right that the Tesla S is a riff on the Aston Jag. 

BMW has the i3, i8 and supposedly a possible Tesla killer in an i5 under development.  The i3 and i8 launch in 2014.  It will be interesting to see if BMW's technology works out.

stant's picture

wonder a few years from now how hard it will be to buy one from the scrap yard once the brick is striped and drop a big block in?

conspicio's picture

Funny you mention that...Fiskers were already being tapped as donors for the "Destino."

Freddie's picture

The Fisker is a good looking car.  I was not aware that Henrik Fisker had been a designer at Aston Martin Vantage and BMW Z8 (not so good).  The body style Tesla ripped off.

Yancey Ward's picture

Look, the Tesla's are the safest cars you can drive- they come with non-asbestos fireproof suits and fire extinguishers front and back, along with voice command 911 assistence and burn ward insurance plan.

orangegeek's picture

All the majors are building / have built electric cars.


In a few years, Tesla is going to get crushed.


It's a car folks!!!  *sigh*

Bennie Noakes's picture

They just need to add a built-in barbecue sauce dispenser so passengers can slather themselves with barbecue sauce before starting off.

conspicio's picture



Musk replies:

"Oh Yeah? Well Space-X is rated a 6 star space services provider. So nanny nanny boo boo and because, SCIENCE"

Mike Hunt III's picture

I think the cars battery fire issue is overplayed in the media. How many fires have there been with Tesla cars? Three? Here's a stat for gasoline (which is slightly combustible) powered cars:


U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 152,300 automobile fires per year in 2006-2010.

yrbmegr's picture

There is a car fire every 96 seconds in this country.

MontgomeryScott's picture

i didn't realize there were so many Tesla cars sold here...