Tesla Safety Faults Worry Chinese Regulators

Chinese regulators could derail Tesla’s mass market ambitions in the nation by raising concerns over its safety systems so far ignored by western regulators.

For they are citing issues with the automaker’s build quality and autonomous driving features, such as sudden unauthorized acceleration and battery fires mirroring these events in other markets, western regulators have yet to bring any meaningful action against Tesla. Now the BBC reports five Chinese regulators have summoned Tesla to answer concerns over quality and safety issues as it tries ramping up production of its latest model in its Shanghai factory.

The automaker sold 120,000 vehicles in China last year and is hoping to tap into the country’s pledge to roll out BEVs to its huge mass market. However, the regulators have been receiving complaints from consumers that some Tesla products suffer from safety issues and also build quality problems involving failed touchscreens which have sparked a large scale recall of Model S and Model X cars in the US. Apparently admitting responsibility for the problems, the automaker said it will improve self-inspection and internal management, the BBC reports. Tesla Shanghai said it: “sincerely accepted the guidance of government departments” and that it had “deeply reflected on shortcomings” in a statement.

Elon Musk’s company won approval for its Shanghai factory in 2018, becoming the first foreign automaker to operate a wholly-owned plant in China. Now it is facing growing competition from domestic produces including the battery swap start-up NIO and the auto giant Geely which owns Volvo.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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