Tesla officials defend safety record of Model S electric car at North American International Auto Sh

WXYZ (DETROIT) - Tesla generated a lot of press interest today at the North American International Auto Show even though the company isn't showing off any new product.

Tesla's Jerome Guillen, did defend the safety of the company's all-electric vehicle after three Model S sedans caught fire after high speed crashes.

"This is one of the safest, if not the safest car on the road and we have the evidence to show it with 168-million miles on the road and no serious injury and no casualty," said Guillen, Tesla's vice president for worldwide sales and service.

Guillen told reporters at Cobo Center that a software upgrade is the fix for the recall of adapters used in the charging of the vehicle.  The National Traffic Safety Board ordered the recall, which does not involve the cars themselves.

The company insists the issues are not setbacks.

"If NTSA wants to call that a recall, so be it but that's not going to stop us from doing the right thing, which is to make sure the cars become better and better and that's our approach." Guillen said.

"Tesla's an amazing company," said John McElroy, an analyst who follows the auto industry. "They've gone from zero to hero overnight."

McElroy counts himself among the fans of the Tesla electric car that sells for about $70,000. The future of the company, which has yet to make money, is less certain in his mind.

"They've had this market to themselves," McElroy said. " Now Cadillac's coming out with an electric car. BMW is coming out with an electric car and pretty soon all of the other luxury makes will as well. Can Tesla keep its sales going when it faces competition like that? That's the question I need to have answered before I know if this is a real car company."

Tesla sold nearly 6,900 Model S sedans in the final three months of 2013, exceeding company expectations by almost 1,000 vehicles.

Tesla has the top-selling car in Norway with plans to expand to China.



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