Tesla China is reportedly suing the protester for “brake failure” that climbed to the top of a Model 3 display unit at the Shanghai auto show in April.
Tesla China is suing protester Zhang Yazhou for defamation, local sources say. The company is also demanding an apology and compensation of 5 million RMB (~ $ 700,000) for the damage caused to the brand.
After his protest, Zhang claimed that the Model 3 had a faulty brake system. In May, the former owner of Tesla filed a libel suit against Tesla in the Beiguan District People’s Court in Anyang, Henan Province.
She claimed her family suffered abuse and mental stress as a result of statements by Tesla China Vice President of External Affairs Grace Tao and the company’s branches in Beijing and Shanghai. Zhang demanded an apology and 50,000 RMB (~ $ 7,000) from Tesla.
Zhang’s protest sparked a barrage of similar claims for brake failures in China by other Tesla owners. Later, Tesla China’s legal team cracked down on Tesla owners and even local media who made claims of brake failure for entertainment purposes, or just to join the trend.
For example, a Tesla Model X owner posted a TikTok video that supposedly showed an incident of brake failure in his car. Later, the Tesla owner admitted to staging the skit for entertainment purposes only and apologized.
Tesla is no stranger to allegations that try to tarnish his reputation. Back in the United States, Tesla is currently under fire for its recently released FSD Beta button. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a formal autopilot investigation. More recently, five Texas officers filed a lawsuit against Tesla after a drunk driver crashed his Model X into their vehicles.
Since the protest against brake failure and numerous claims by Tesla owners over similar incidents, Tesla China has beefed up its legal team. From the string of apologies Tesla has received for making false statements about the company, the legal team is not easy with anyone spreading fear, uncertainty or doubt about the EV automaker.
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