Tesla sells about 30% of her cars in China, where she faced concerns and criticism about issues including battery fires.
Tesla Inc. apologized to Chinese customers for not timely answering a customer’s concerns and said it would begin a review of its service operations in the world’s largest car market.
Tesla’s rare public apology followed criticism in state media, and the Shanghai auto show incident gained broad attention on China’s social media. A disgruntled customer clambered at the auto show at a Tesla to protest the company’s treatment of her concerns about malfunctioning brakes.
Monday’s incident prompted state-owned broadcaster CCTV to call for an investigation into alleged brake problems on Tesla vehicles, while China’s anti-graft watchdog weighed in with a statement that such conflicts should be resolved in the law.
“People shouldn’t take extreme steps, and businesses shouldn’t be greedy and irrational,” said the Central Discipline Inspection Commission late Tuesday.
A representative at Tesla’s Zhengzhou store on Wednesday, where the protesting customer came from, told local state media the automaker will exchange data on the brake incident with local market regulators for investigation.
Tesla said Monday the woman was a car owner involved in a crash earlier this year. It blamed “speeding violations” for the crash, adding that it had been negotiating with her about returning the vehicle, but the negotiations had stalled over a third-party inspection.
Tesla was scrutinized in China last month when the military barred its cars from accessing its complexes, citing security concerns about cameras in its vehicles, sources told Reuters news agency.
That prompted Tesla founder Elon Musk to warn it would be shut down if the company used cameras in China or anywhere else. Earlier this month, Tesla stated that cameras in her vehicles are not activated outside of North America.
The woman who began protesting will be detained for five days, Shanghai police said on Tuesday.
Police said the woman and a female accomplice, known only by their surnames, Zhang and Li, “caused confusion” at Monday’s trade show when they arrived at the Tesla display “to demonstrate their frustration at a customer dispute.”
Zhang was arrested for “disrupting public order,” while Li was warned, police said. Zhang and Li could not be contacted.
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