Tesla sells around 30% of its cars in China, where it has faced complaints and criticism over issues such as battery fires.
Tesla Inc has apologized to Chinese consumers for not addressing a customer’s complaints in a timely manner and announced that it will launch a review of its service operations in the world’s largest auto market.
Tesla’s unusual public apology follows criticism from state media and an incident at the Shanghai auto show that garnered widespread attention on Chinese social media. A disgruntled customer climbed to the top of a Tesla at the auto show to protest the company’s handling of its complaints about faulty brakes.
Videos that went viral on Monday showed a woman wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “Brakes not working” and shouting similar accusations as staff and security struggled to restore calm.
The issue for Tesla in China overlapped with new questions in the United States about the safety of Autopilot company’s partially automated driving systems. Texas Police in the United States are investigating a fatal accident involving a Tesla Model S that struck a tree and caught fire.
Rescuers found casualties in the passenger and rear seats, not the driver’s seat. Federal regulators are investigating the crash and have a total of 24 probes in the process of accidents involving Teslas running on autopilot.
Tesla sells about 30% of its cars in China, where the vehicles are manufactured at its factory in Shanghai. But it has faced occasional criticism over issues like battery fire complaints.
Monday’s incident led state broadcaster CCTV to call for an investigation into reported braking problems on Tesla cars, while China’s anti-corruption watchdog weighed in with a comment saying such disputes should be resolved in accordance with the rule of law.
“Individuals should not take extreme measures and companies should not be arrogant and unreasonable,” the Central Disciplinary Inspection Commission said Tuesday evening.
A representative from the Tesla store in Zhengzhou, where the protesting customer came from, on Wednesday told local media that the automaker will share data relating to the braking incident with local market regulators for investigation.
Tesla said Monday the woman owned a vehicle that was involved in a collision earlier this year. He cited “speeding” for the crash, adding in a social media statement that he had negotiated with her over the return of the car, but talks had blocked a third-party inspection.
Tesla came under close scrutiny in China last month when the military banned its cars from entering its complexes, citing security concerns with the cameras in its vehicles, sources told Reuters news agency.
This prompted Tesla founder Elon Musk to say that if the company used cameras to spy in China or elsewhere, it would be shut down. Earlier this month, Tesla said its cars cameras were not activated outside of North America.
The woman whose protest started it all will be detained for five days, Shanghai police said on Tuesday.
Police said the woman and an accomplice – identified only by their last names, Zhang and Li – “caused chaos” at Monday’s show when they arrived at Tesla’s booth “to express their displeasure over the incident. a consumer conflict “.
Zhang was ordered to be detained for “disrupting public order,” while Li received a warning, police said. Zhang and Li could not be reached for comment.