NHTSA does not initiate investigations on CEO request. NHTSA says they chose to investigate Tesla battery fires independently. Which means, in my view, that Musk was trying to spin in some damage control.
But NHTSA Administrator David Strickland told a House panel Tuesday that Tesla didn't request an investigation and that the agency had made an independent decision to open an investigation into 13,100 Model S vehicles after two battery fires were reported since early October in the United States.
"Investigations are independent," Strickland told The Detroit News in an interview after the hearing. "We have never — in my recollection, before I got to NHTSA (as a Senate staffer) or as administrator — have actually had an automaker ask for a formal investigation, but it causes a couple of implications: If a manufacturer asks me or asks the agency for a formal investigation, you've already made a determination that you may have a defect that imposes an unreasonable risk to safety. ... I don't think that would ever happen."
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131119/AUTO01/311190095#ixzz2lJ4MOIFP