Chinese netizens urge Tesla not to ride off on side issues after its again late night apology for auto show protest
Published: Apr 21, 2021 10:13 AM
A protester standing on a Tesla Model 3 on 2021 Shanghai Auto Show.  Photo: CFP

A protester standing on a Tesla Model 3 on 2021 Shanghai Auto Show. Photo: CFP

Chinese netizens criticized Tesla for skating around key questions after the US electric carmaker published an urgent apology letter on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo late Tuesday night saying that they would abide by government investigations and communicate with their clients to seek for solutions to any problems.

The apology letter was published following a farce one day ago at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, where a peeved Tesla owner jumped on top of a Model 3 to protest the carmaker's quality-control issues.  The video of her protests then widely circulated on Weibo and Chinese media.

In the letter, Tesla said it respects and will firmly obey the decisions of government departments. The company also said that it will comply with any government investigations.

It also apologized for not being able to solve the car owner's problems timely. "We are always willing to try our best to communicate actively with the client, seek to find problem solutions with the most sincere attitude, and fulfill our responsibilities to the end," the letter read.

Tesla also said that it had established a special group to address client concerns as much as possible. "We will try to help the car owner feel satisfied," it said.

Besides, the company stressed that it would learn from the incident. "We would carry out self inspections to rectify problems or services procedures that fail to meet service criteria."

The apology letter post had around 16000 replies on the Weibo as of Wednesday morning, most of which were critical.

 What you should do is conduct a thorough investigation into whether Tesla's brake system does have flaws in design or other quality problems, instead of just 'letting the car owner satisfied,'" one netizen said.

Another netizen called for third-part inspection instead of self inspections. "No problems would be considered problems in a self inspection."

One web user also said that Tesla is not paying attention to the quality problems until customers protest in an intense manner. "Please don't bring US pride into China!"

Some netizens supported Tesla, calling for it to publish all relevant car inspection reports and hold the protester responsible for Tesla's losses if the evidence shows Tesla cars don't have quality problems.

According to media reports, the Administration for Market Regulation of Central China's Zhengzhou has organized the protestor to communicate with Tesla's branch in Zhengzhou, but Tesla declined to provide car data in the 30 minutes ahead of the accident as requested by the car owner who opposed to third-party technical appraisal.

Media reported that Tesla Vice President Tao Lin was absent from a scheduled seminar on Wednesday talking about industrial chain security at the Boao Forum. Tao has been widely criticized by her previous public words about Chinese consumers' complaints.

The Global Times saw that the Tesla booth at the auto show was being strictly guarded at about 17:00 pm on Tuesday, with a rail set around the booth and many grey-suited salespeople standing at the entrance to call out "welcome to Tesla" to any visitors. Around a dozen black-suited security guards stood on different corners of the booth to watch the crowd.

Global Times