While Tesla has been quite a success story in China so far, some Tesla car owners have been less than impressed by the US electric car maker.
On the opening day of the Shanghai Auto Show on Monday, two women protested at Tesla’s booth, reportedly airing grievances about the poor brake quality of their Tesla vehicles.
Both women were wearing custom-made shirts with a Tesla logo and Chinese characters translated as ‘Tesla brake failure.’
One of the disgruntled female Tesla owners jumped on the hood of one of the vehicles and repeatedly yelled: “Tesla brakes lost control.”
In a video taken at the scene that has since gone viral, the woman can be seen shouting and throwing umbrellas at surrounding security guards – a real power move, by our assessment.
Watch the video below to see the protester garner quite the crowd at the auto show (VPN off):
The woman shortly after was dragged from the car and escorted away. According to Shanghai authorities, she was detained by police and given five days of administrative detention for public disorder. The other woman was given a warning.
A third Tesla car owner who was at the scene issued an apology via Weibo to the Shanghai Auto Show for causing a disturbance. The statement also said that other Tesla owners should hold the car manufacturer more accountable.
Image via @陈越看法/Weibo
Following the incident, images of ‘Tesla brake failure’ ecommerce listings were shared online. However, by the time we tried searching the keywords, they had already pumped the brakes.
Image via @财经网/Weibo
A Shanghai-based Tesla representative said the woman who was on top of the car is a car-owner from Henan who has repeatedly protested against Tesla’s braking system, as cited by Bloomberg.
The woman alleges that her Model 3’s brakes had failed and four family members were nearly killed in an accident in March.
Tesla responded by saying that vehicle data showed that the car’s braking and emergency-warning systems were functioning properly at the time.
Following the outburst, Global Times reported that Tesla had bolstered security at the auto show, with some attendees taking notice.
“There’s a lot of security. The whole booth is fenced off, leaving only two entrances,” posted a Weibo user, along with photos of the increased security presence.
Image via @IT工程师/Weibo
Complaints about Tesla vehicles have been a reoccurring topic since last year. In February, China’s top market regulator addressed Tesla over a rise in consumer complaints, spanning from unexpected accelerations to battery fires, among other topics.
In March 2020, Tesla car owners complained that their vehicles had been equipped with different chips than was stated on the model specification sheet.
In the US, two people were killed on Monday after a Tesla car crashed into a tree in Texas. It’s not clear whether the car was in ‘driver assist’ mode or ‘full self-driving’ mode at the time of the crash.
This latest protest occurred as more young Chinese consumers are looking to buy domestic EV brands, such as Geely, Nio and Xpeng, according to surveys cited by Financial Times. More than a dozen domestic electric car models were launched at the auto show, with companies aiming to cut into Tesla’s market share.
[Cover image via @拆台CT/Weibo]