Tesla China faced a lot of challenges this year, one of them was because a customer protested during Shanghai Auto Show in April. It affected their March and April sales, despite the company not being at fault. The Modell 3 customer’s parents were in an accident, and the case was yet to be fully investigated. However, the customer protested by standing on a car. This caused Tesla China to get global attention as this was the first time Tesla got such an open criticism through a protest.
According to local sources, Tesla China sued the customer, Zhang Yazhou. Being sued for defamation, the customer is also expected to get an apology and retribution of RMB 5million ($700,000). The compensation is due to the damages caused by the customer due to defamation. After the protest in April, Zhang claimed that Tesla has a faulty braking system without any proper evidence.
Additionally in May, a Tesla owner filled a lawsuit at Beiguan District for Defamation. It was stated that her family has experienced abuse and mental stress because of the statements from Tesla’s employees in China. This is in reference to Tesla China’s VP of External Affairs Grace Tao and Tesla’s branches in Shanghai and Beijing demanding an apology and a fine of RMB 50,000 from the company.
Sparking a barrage of brake failure in China
This incident is caused by a customer without proper investigation or evidence caused a lot of damage. In China, it sparked a barrage for people to point out similar brake failure situations. However, the Tesla Media team has bought a stop to this by tracking down each one of them and finding out what went wrong. Then there were many apologies from different parties, including local media outlets. Supposedly local media outlets falsely claimed things about Tesla.
It includes the situation where a TikTok user admitted that he was showing a brake failure incident on his phone as a prank. He publicly gave an apology and stated that the video was only a prank. Tesla being new in the EV market ever since the companies started, this kind of false claim is nothing new. In the US the company is facing issues with the critics for releasing driver-assist features that are going towards fully autonomous updates. Even the regulators in the US, NHTSA is currently investigating Tesla’s autonomous software.
China is one of the largest markets for the company, the legal team is not going smooth on the false claims. They will continue to sue Zhang. Hopefully, this incident will push people to not make false claims until they are really sure.