Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Have the Chinese Communists fallen out of love with Tesla? Or have they stolen enough Tesla technology to launch their own ripoff, and don’t need Musk any more?
Tesla branded as ‘arrogant’ in China as pressure mounts on the electric car maker
- A woman who claimed to be a Tesla customer protested an alleged brake failure in her car at the company’s booth at the Shanghai auto show.
- Tesla claimed the woman had a collision due to a speeding incident and has been negotiating with her since February.
- Chinese state media branded the company’s response as “arrogant” and regulators are increasing their scrutiny of the company.
GUANGZHOU, China — Tesla faces mounting pressure in China as state media and regulators criticize the electric car maker following a woman’s protest at a major auto show this week.
Tesla could be facing one of its worst public relations crises in China, a market investors see as critical for its growth.
On Monday, a woman who claimed to be a Tesla customer stood atop one of the company’s cars at the Shanghai auto show with a T-shirt that read “brakes don’t work.” She was protesting an alleged brake failure in her car — an issue other Chinese social media users claiming to be Tesla drivers have complained about in the last several months. A video of the incident went viral on Chinese social networks and was picked up by state media.
On Tuesday, Shanghai police identified the protester by her surname Zhang and said she was sentenced to five days detention for disturbing public order.
Tesla alleged the woman was involved in a collision in February due to “speeding violations” and that in their two months of negotiations, she would not allow a third-party inspection but insisted on a refund for the car.
Criticism for being ‘arrogant’
Tesla’s vice president for China, Tao Lin, claimed in an interview Monday with Chinese financial news publication Caijing that the woman hoped for a high level of compensation, and the company doesn’t have any reason to give it to her.
Negative press about Tesla in China has increased in recent months. Earlier this year, a Tesla Model 3 reportedly exploded in a Shanghai parking garage, while a state media article said there were at least 10 reports in 2020 of Tesla drivers in the country losing control of their cars.
China has also reportedly restricted the use of Tesla cars among state and military personnel over concerns that the vehicle’s sensors could record images of their surrounding locations. Musk said his company would be shut down if its cars could be used to spy.
This is all so different from 2020, when Elon Musk explained in great detail why he thought China is better than the USA.
Elon Musk says ‘China rocks’ while the U.S. is full of ‘complacency and entitlement’
- Elon Musk lamented the “entitled” and “complacent” character of people in the United States, and lauded the “smart” and “hard working people” of China, in an Automotive News podcast out Friday.
- He also said that Tesla had received the least government assistance of any U.S. carmaker.
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk lamented the “entitled” and “complacent” character of people in the United States, and lauded the “smart” and “hard working people” of China, in the first installment of a three-part interview with Automotive News’ “Daily Drive” podcast published Friday.
Specifically, Musk criticized New York and California — states that have supported his businesses, especially Tesla, with considerable tax breaks, regulatory credits and other government help.
Automotive News publisher Jason Stein, who conducted the interview, asked Musk, “How about China as an EV strategy leader in the world?”
Musk replied: “China rocks in my opinion. The energy in China is great. People there – there’s like a lot of smart, hard working people. And they’re really — they’re not entitled, they’re not complacent, whereas I see in the United States increasingly much more complacency and entitlement especially in places like the Bay Area, and L.A. and New York.”
He offered this advice to other entrepreneurs:
“My advice, you know, to corporate America or companies worldwide is spend less time on marketing presentations and more time on your product. Honestly that should be the number one thing taught in business schools. Put down that spreadsheet and that PowerPoint presentation and go and make your product better.”
Hands up who wants to help Musk sort out his problems with the Chinese Communists?