Tesla's Model S sedan has aced every government crash test, receiving five-star ratings on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's frontal, side, rear and rollover tests.
That's a lot to blow your horn about, but it seems CEO Elon Musk and company wanted to spike the ball in the end zone.
Last week Tesla bragged that the company had received the "best safety rating of any car ever tested," citing a mathematical formula that NHTSA supplies to automakers. Based on the formula, the Model S "achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars," Tesla crowed in a press release.
The company also claimed that during a roof crush test at an independent testing facility, the Model S broke the testing machine, thanks to a strengthened B-pillar that uses aerospace grade bolts.
Regulators weren't pleased.
"NHTSA does not rate vehicles beyond 5 stars and does not rank or order vehicles within the star rating categories," the agency posted on the front page of its Web site. NHTSA also pointed to its rules for advertising crash-test results, which discourage the use of "potentially misleading words such as 'perfect,' 'safest,' 'flawless' or 'best in class' to describe the star rating received by the vehicle."
It wasn't the first time we've heard Muskian hyperbole about safety. Musk told Bloomberg last month that the Model S would get "six- or seven-star ratings" if the government's ratings went that high.