Tesla CEO Elon Musk looks at his mobile phone.
Tesla is facing backlash in China after a woman’s protest about alleged faulty brakes went viral. State-run media and government agencies have piled on, calling Tesla “arrogant.” Tesla apologized and said it would create a unit dedicated to customer satisfaction. See more stories on Insider’s business page.
It’s been a week of relentless scrutiny for Tesla at home and in China.
The electric-car maker is facing an onslaught of criticism from Chinese officials and state-run media in the wake of a woman’s viral protest at the Shanghai Auto Show. The crisis could hamper Tesla’s growth in the country, the largest electric-vehicle market in the world and an increasingly important one for Tesla.
On Monday, a woman climbed atop a Tesla Model 3 on display to rail against the carmaker’s alleged quality-control issues. She wore a shirt with the phrases “Invisible Killer” and “The Brakes Don’t Work,” according to The Wall Street Journal. The woman was identified by Tesla as a customer who has complained about a brake failure in her car that she claims led her father to crash, multiple outlets reported.
April 19, 2021
In a statement released on social media following the event, Tesla said that the incident happened due to excessive speed – not faulty brakes, the Journal reported. A Tesla representative told local media that the company had tried to rectify the situation and that it would not give in to “unreasonable demands,” multiple outlets reported.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Then the critics piled on.
On Tuesday, state-run Xinhua News Agency published an article arguing that Tesla needs to meet certain quality standards if it wants to earn customers’ satisfaction, Bloomberg reported. The same day, China’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission issued a statement saying that the company must stop “pretending to be oblivious to hidden dangers of which it’s well aware,” and