Tesla China’s legal team filed a case against the Model X owner who described the vehicle as a “killing” or “suicide toy”. Tesla won the case, requiring the owner to pay a fine of RMB 10,000 ($1,412) due to his actions. The Model X owner dubbed the reports as he was driving from Fuyang to Zhengzhou where he decreased speed from 100km/h to 60km/h.
In the media, he stated that the Model X’s brakes failed, turning the all-electric vehicle into a “suicide toy.” Apart from this, the Model X owner claimed that no one from Tesla China contacted him about the incident despite the malfunction. This statement was proven false as per the court ruling since the evidence showed that a Tesla China staff member contacted Mr. Wen on the day of the incident to get details on the situation.
It is known that the Tesla China staff member tried to get the vehicle inspected. However, failed to get it inspected despite trying many times. As noted in the verdict, Mr. Wen later made statements in interviews that were inconsistent with the facts of the case. These statements ended up having a negative impact on Tesla’s business image in China.
The court case
The civil judgment states, “In this case, the defendant stated in an interview that no one contacted him after the vehicle involved in the case broke down, and claimed that the plaintiff company was ‘a dead pig is not afraid of boiling water’, which is inconsistent with the facts. ” This is not the first time someone claimed Tesla’s vehicle to be faulty falsely. The owner of Model 3 was fined CNY 50,000 for claiming that the car suddenly began to accelerate.
In August 2020, loud news about Tesla came from China. It was reported that a Model 3 suddenly accelerated and did not slow down when the driver applied the brakes, causing the vehicle to enter a parking lot at high speed, crash into several vehicles, crash into the sidewalk from the other side of the parking lot, crashing into lamp posts, and cause serious injury to its owner.
Now, the case is a bit different, where the owner stated the car to be a “suicide toy”. In the final judgment, “However, the defendant refused to overhaul it, and made a statement under the condition that he believed that there was no major problem with the vehicle, “I bought a Tesla for 1.5 million, and I bought a killing toy or a suicide toy. It is worth it” and “I am not buying an electronic bomb, I am buying safety, what I want is safety and other statements containing derogatory language. The above-mentioned remarks of the defendant have been released and reproduced by the media platform, which has caused public criticism of the plaintiff, and the negative evaluation of the “Tesla” brand caused the plaintiff’s social evaluation to be lowered and the plaintiff’s right of reputation to be violated.”