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Tesla says Germany concludes car fire probe

People take pictures of a Tesla Model S car, displayed at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino
People take pictures of a Tesla Model S car, displayed at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

DETROIT (Reuters) - Electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc said Monday that Germany's vehicle regulatory agency will pursue "no further measures" after concluding a review of recent Tesla Model S fires in the United States and Mexico.

Germany's Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), or Federal Motor Transport Authority, was not immediately available for comment.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in mid-November launched an investigation into the Model S after the car experienced three fires in six weeks.

In a brief statement, Tesla said it had been provided "data and additional information" to the KBA on the Model S fires in Washington, Tennessee and Mexico after a "recent inquiry" by the German agency.

Tesla provided a copy of a German-language letter from the KBA and said the agency told it that "no manufacturer-related defects could be found."

NHTSA said it opened a preliminary evaluation of the risks associated with highway debris striking the underbody of the 2013 Model S.

A preliminary evaluation by NHTSA can lead to a recall. The investigation focuses on two Model S fires that happened after the vehicles ran over debris on U.S. highways. The third Model S fire, which is not part of the NHTSA probe, occurred when a vehicle hit a concrete wall in Mexico.

"The subject vehicles caught fire after an undercarriage strike with metallic roadway debris," NHTSA said on its website. "The resulting impact damage to the propulsion battery tray (baseplate) initiated thermal runaway."

The KBA letter, as translated by Tesla, said "no further measures" were deemed necessary under Germany's Product Safety Act.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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