Chinese regulators have summoned representatives from Tesla for talks over quality and safety issues of its vehicles, amid the US electric carmaker’s rapid expansion in the world’s largest car market.
Consumer complaints about battery fires, problems with over-the-air updates, and unintended acceleration promoted the meeting with five Chinese government agencies, including the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), the regulator said in a statement on its website on Monday.
The officials reminded Tesla to “strictly comply” with Chinese laws and regulations. They also asked the US carmaker to strengthen its internal management, ensure that its products are safe, and protect consumer rights and interests.
In a statement, Tesla said it has accepted the guidance of the government departments and will thoroughly investigate consumers’ complaints and step up inspections.
“We will strictly abide by Chinese laws and regulations and always respect consumer rights,” Tesla said in a statement on its official Weibo account.
Tesla last week recalled 36,000 imported Model S and Model X vehicles in China due to issues with the vehicles’ multimedia memory cards. In October, the firm also recalled 48,000 imported cars of the same models in China because of faulty suspension systems.
The carmaker also apologized last Monday for asserting blame on China’s State Grid following a charging incident with one of its Model 3 in Nanchang, Jiangxi province.
In January 2021, Tesla sold 15,484 Model 3 vehicles in China, a notable drop from 23,804 units sold in December, according to figures released by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).
Overall, sales of electric cars in China jumped 281.4% to 158,000 in January from a year ago, although they dropped 24% month over month, CPCA said.
The Chinese government hopes that 30% of cars sold by 2025 will have smart connectivity and has been providing extensive policy support to the EV sector, including tax subsidies, license plate laws, registration benefits and charging infrastructure investments.
The warning from regulators have done little to dent investors’ optimism — Nasdaq-listed Tesla rose 1.7% on Monday, following a disclosure from the company that it had bought $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin.
The company will soon start accepting payments in Bitcoin for vehicles, making it the first major automaker to accept cryptocurrency.