The protest by a Chinese woman against Tesla's alleged faulty brakes has snowballed into a controversy that the electric vehicle manufacturer is beginning to find too hot to handle. After dismissing the protester as a 'widely known' troublemaker and claiming that her car did not have any issues, Tesla has finally taken a step back and apologised.
In a statement issued after a massive backlash in China, the EV maker said, "Tesla appreciates the trust and tolerance given by our car-owners, netizens and media friends, and actively listens to the suggestions and critics. In order to make up for the discomfort of the owner as much as possible and the negative impact on her car using experience and life, we are always willing to try our best to actively communicate with her and seek solutions with the most sincere attitude."
On Monday, the woman turned up at the Tesla corner at the Shanghai Auto Show, climbed on top of a Tesla Model 3 car on display and started shouting "Tesla brake lost control". She wore a t-shirt that read 'The brakes don't work' with a Tesla logo under it, amplified her protest.
Security present at the show tried to hide her t-shirt with umbrellas while trying pull her down. They eventually managed to do that, but the manner in which she was dragged away from the event further irked people across social media. People raised questions, some even directed to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, asking why she was treated like an animal.
This backlash, it seems, made Tesla stand up and take note. This incident is not the first that highlighted the EV maker's apathy towards its car owners. There have been several instances where Tesla owners, even in its home turf United States, have expressed disappointment at how it treats its customers.
Before tendering its apology, Tesla had admitted that the woman had been involved in a collision due to speeding violations. The carmaker had said that attempts to negotiate with the woman had failed over a third-party inspection. However, Tesla later said, "At the same time, what we need to explain is: not compromising with unreasonable demands is also our attitude."