Tesla Model 3 could face stop-sale order and recall in Australia over potential safety standard breach

The new Tesla Model 3 is getting a closer look from Australian authorities due to a potential compliance issue with the country’s vehicle safety standards. The issue centers around the car’s child seat anchor points, specifically the accessibility of the top-tether point for the rear middle seat, which is crucial for securing child seats.

Australian Design Rules (ADRs), the national standards for vehicle safety, require that every seat with a seatbelt in a car must have an accessible top-tether point for child seats. According to a report by The Drive, the updated 2024 Tesla Model 3, certified as a five-seater, lacks this accessibility in the rear middle seat.

As you can see in the images below, taken from the legacy Model 3 owner’s manual (left) and the new Model 3 owner’s manual in Australia (right), the tether point for the middle seat is missing.

Tesla has yet to add the updated Model 3 owner’s manual for Canada or the US, so we are unsure if production out of Fremont has two or three tether points.


This potential breach could lead to significant repercussions for Tesla, up to and including a stop-sale order and a recall of vehicles already sold.

Options available to Tesla, should the Model 3 be found non-compliant, include modifying the vehicle to make the top-tether point accessible or reclassifying the Model 3 as a four-seater by removing the rear middle seatbelt, a solution previously adopted by Honda for its HR-V model in Australia.

This concern is not unprecedented in the Australian automotive market. In 2022, the BYD Atto 3 faced a similar issue when it was discovered that its rear middle top-tether point was obstructed, leading to a temporary stop in deliveries and a recall to modify the affected vehicles.

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