Tesla Inc has drawn serious flak after the car maker failed to address a Chinese customer’s complaints about malfunctioning brakes while the issue escalated at the Shanghai Auto Show.
The issue garnered widespread attention in China’s social media as the unhappy customer had climbed atop the Tesla at the Shanghai Auto show to protest the company’s ignorance in handling of her complaints.
The company has henceforth issued a public apology to all Chinese consumers at the world’s biggest auto show, saying that it would soon review its service operations to fix the escalating problem.
Several videos showcasing a woman wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “The brakes don’t work” went viral on Monday in social media circles. She was found hurling accusations at Tesla while the staff and security assembled at the event struggled to pacify her.
Tesla had earlier drawn serious flak from the US media after a fatal crash involving its Model S came into spotlight. The police in Texas are currently investigating the widespread issue with the company’s Autopilot system that presently works in semi-manual mode at best.
According to Reuters, the incident took place in the neighbourhood of The Woodlands wherein the speeding car lost control around a bend and hit a roadside tree before bursting into flames.
The electric car maker is facing a probe on 24 such incidents with Tesla’s Autopilot system. On the contrary, there have been sparse complaints on Tesla’s battery fire incidents with nearly 30% of its cars produced at the Shanghai factory in China.
The incident at the Shanghai Auto Show has reportedly led state broadcaster CCTV to call for an investigation of said brake problems with Tesla cars. Meanwhile, China’s anti-graft watchdog suggested that such disputes should be addressed within the rule of law.
“Individuals should not take extreme measures, and enterprises should not be arrogant and unreasonable,” the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said late on Tuesday.
The protesting customer has been identified as the one from Tesla’s store in Zhengzhou, according to a company representative who told local state media the automaker will share the details of the incident with local market regulators for further investigation.
Tesla has pointed out that the customer’s vehicle was earlier involved in a collision this year, due to “speeding violations” that led to the crash. The company also added in a social media statement that it was open for negotiation with her about returning the car, but the talks were suspended over a third-party inspection.
Shanghai Police has confirmed a five-day detainment for the protestor as per the official statement issued on Tuesday.
The concerned woman and her female accomplice have been identified only by their surnames – Zhang and Li – who have “caused chaos” at the trade fair on Monday “to express their dissatisfaction due to a consumer dispute”, according to the Police.
Zhang was charged a detention for “disrupting public order”, while Li was let go with a warning, the Police added. Zhang and Li were unavailable for comment, the report concludes.