Tesla Retracts its Tough Approach over Customer Complaint Drama in Shanghai Auto Show

Facing a backlash to its tough approach to the public in the Shanghai automobile show, Tesla China issued a third consecutive statement to the public vowing to comply and work with third-party testing agencies over its braking system failure issues.

“This afternoon, we have reached out to the market regulation authorities in the city of Zhengzhou to report on the concerning issues,” said Tesla in its latest statement: “We are willing to fully cooperate by providing all original vehicle data 30 minutes prior to the accident to third-party authorities, government-appointed regulatory body, or the customer.”

“We further plead to the local authorities to appoint independent testing agencies to start the testings. We are willing to cover the full costs of the actions needed.”

In the statement, Tesla also promised to accept the testing results regardless of the outcomes.

The company has therefore walked back from its previous harsh stance over customers’ protests. A few days earlier, an angry customer had invaded Tesla’s booth and stood on a vehicle to voice her complaints. The lady’s action caught the public’s attention after getting dragged out of the arena by security staff.

Shanghai police identified two individuals involved in the incident on Tuesday and released their last names: Ms. Zhang was detained for five days with charges of disturbing public order. Ms. Li, an accomplice of Zhang, received a warning.

Videos from social media indicate that Ms. Zhang was wearing a T-shirt claiming that ‘the brakes don’t work’ and repeatedly shouted at the scene.

Pandaily reported earlier that Ms. Zhang, the owner of a 2020 Tesla Model 3, got involved in a car accident and demanded a full investigation over the vehicle’s braking system failure. But Tesla repeatedly refused such requests and insisted the car had no issues.

Tesla China initially issued a rather tone-deaf response over the disturbance. Grace Tao, the vice-president of Tesla China, told the media that the company will not compromise to ‘unreasonable requests’ and blamed Ms. Zhang for creating negative press coverages. Tao also claimed that despite the issues covered by media outlets, 90% of Chinese customers will still choose Tesla over other electric vehicle brands.

The remarks quickly backfired on the company after national-level state media outlets such as the Chinese Central Television and People’s Daily spoke out against Tesla’s arrogance. While Tesla issued an apology to both the public and Ms. Zhang on Tuesday, state media outlets such as Xinhua News and Global Times criticized the company for lacking the sense of corporate social responsibility.

Tesla sells approximately 30 percent of its electric vehicles in China. The company also fully owns a manufacturing factory in Shanghai. But the Tesla vehicles have constantly faced quality issue concerns in recent months. In addition to the braking system failure, they also had accidents, one involving batteries catching fire.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Refuses to Compromise in Face of “Unreasonable Demands” after Angry Car Owner Protested at Shanghai Auto Show

Multiple Chinese government regulators summoned the American electric vehicle company in February over quality issue concerns. The company’s in-car cameras and local tracking technologies also raised doubts as Chinese military authorities banned Tesla vehicles from entering military properties across the country.

In light of the protest at the Shanghai auto show, Reuters reported that China’s market regulator urged Tesla to re-evaluate its vehicle product qualities once again on Wednesday.