Tesla apologizes after 'cocky' response to consumer protest sparks anger in China
Published: Apr 21, 2021 12:39 AM
A Tesla Model 3 is charged in Haikou, capital of South China’s Hainan Province on Wednesday. The US electric carmaker said it has completed four charging stations in the city and that it planned to cover each county and city in the tropical resort island by October. The company reportedly sold 120,000 vehicles in China in 2020. Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Tesla China moderated its cocky attitude on Tuesday night and apologized saying they will do the utmost to communicate with car owners, respect consumers and support all government investigations after a high-profile consumer complaint at the auto show. 

Tesla China said they have set up a special team for this issue and strive to satisfy car owners while complying with laws and regulations, according to the announcement posted on its official account on Sina Weibo.

Tesla China said they will try their best to learn lessons and carry out strict self-examination and self-correcting, sort out and rectify unreasonable problems and service procedures that do not meet service standards, respect consumers and respect the market.

It is the second response after the US electric car producer was put on the spot by the media in recent days.

On Monday, a woman leaped onto a Tesla car on display at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, wearing a T-shirt with the words "Tesla's brake fails" and started screaming in front of a bewildered crowd.

Two men forcibly removed the woman from Tesla's booth grabbing her by the arms and legs. The woman is now under police custody for five days. 

But it was the company's comment on the incident that roiled Chinese social media. The company said on Monday that "it acknowledges sensible criticism," but at the same time that "it will not compromise to meet unreasonable claims."

Chinese netizens were even more displeased with the comment made by a Tesla China executive suggesting that a conspiracy was behind the protest at the exhibition.

Xinhua News Agency ran a commentary criticizing Tesla's uncompromising stance and suggested that, if a car company could not guarantee a safe driving experience and even speculates about a consumer's motivation, its brand image could be tarnished in the end.