Tesla's International Ambitions Hurt Due to Safety Fix in China

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Electric vehicles (EVs) have increased in popularity across the globe. One of the most popular EV brands is Tesla, topping the charts for their consistently innovative and technologically impressive luxury cars.
However, recent issues, including being fined in Norway due to a faulty software update, have hurt the brand’s international ambitions. A large portion of Tesla vehicles has major safety flaws due to a software error. Here are more details about the issue, as well as how it’s affecting Tesla’s public image in China.
Closeup of a steering wheel with Tesla logo
Tesla has faced a series of roadblocks in China

How is Tesla doing in China?

Tesla vehicles are currently selling well in China, making them a popular brand in the country. This is especially the case with the Tesla Model Y.
The high-range vehicle is one of their top sellers worldwide. According to Yahoo Finance, China’s Passenger Car Association announced that there was “increased interest in larger, roomier cars, particularly in the seven-seater category, as government rules allow parents to have more children.”
Tesla also has its second-largest market in China, just behind the U.S. Currently, 57% of all EV sales in China are from foreign brands, and Tesla is a major contender.

Safety issues with Tesla models

Tesla’s recently had issues in China, however, due to a major safety flaw in nearly all of their cars. The autopilot systems could be activated automatically, potentially leading to sudden acceleration and car crashes.
The issue impacted locally-produced Model Y and Model 3 vehicles, as well as imported Model 3 cars. Tesla stated that the flaw could be fixed in most cars through a remote software upgrade, which they’ll issue for free.

Other problems that Tesla has faced in China

In April, a woman launched a protest against the company for issuing her a car with faulty brakes. At a Shanghai auto show, she stood on top of a car with a t-shirt that read “brakes don’t work,” according to CNBC. She was promptly removed and placed in detention for “disturbing public order,” but the protest went viral on social media.
Tesla’s response to the protestor received backlash. In a statement, Tao Lin, Tesla’s vice president for China, said that the woman just wanted a high level of compensation, and the company has no reason to give it to her.
The media and government agencies reprimanded the company for being “arrogant,” and the government issued them a warning. Tesla has cooperated with authorities to make improvements to their customer service.
Tesla vehicles were also banned in some military complexes and residential districts because of concerns over camera data. Some have accused the company of spying through its cameras which the company has denied, saying it only stores the data in China.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the company bounced back in May this year despite the backlash. However, considering the growing popularity of Chinese-made EVs from companies such as Nio, this string of bad publicity could hurt Tesla’s sales long term.

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