Tesla has been under loads of scrutiny in China for some time now. However, it seems a majority of it stems from made-up stories attempting to bring the company down or get a leg up for rivals. Tesla's legal team in China continues to go to bat against such misinformation campaigns, and it has added yet another victory to its growing list.
The US EV maker was welcomed into China with what appeared to be open arms thanks to some notable perks. However, some citizens and media organizations have seemingly worked hard to tarnish the automaker's image. It all started with protests at the Shanghai Auto Show related to unproven claims of Tesla brake failure.
The fake "brake failure" incidents mounted and Tesla moved to build up its media relations arm in China and fight back to prove that the stories were untrue. Since then, Tesla has had multiple victories related to putting a stop to the spread of false accusations based on fake incidents.
As the most recent story goes, Tesla sued a Model X owner for defamation after the owner called the electric crossover a "killing" or "suicide toy." According to the owner, who's referred to as Mr. Wen in the court documents, the Tesla experienced "brake failure." More specifically, the owner said he was driving the EV when the speed suddenly dropped from 100 km/h to 60 km/h.
Mr. Wen went on to claim that, despite the SUV's problems, no one from Tesla reached out to him. Interestingly, this statement was proven false since Tesla provided evidence that showed that its staff contacted the owner on the day of the reported incident.
The Tesla staff member reportedly tried to get Mr. Wen's Model X inspected, but the owner wouldn't allow it. Based on other court documents, it was shown that Mr. Wen made inconsistent statements in interviews and seemed to be targeting Tesla through the use of misinformation.
The judge decided that the owner would have to issue a public apology, which has been pretty standard in these cases. Several Tesla owners, social media influencers, and even media outlets have had to issue apologies to Tesla. The public apology helps to get the word out that the accusations were false and that the individual or organization was working to defame Tesla.
In this case, the Tesla Model X owner was instructed to post the apology in a local newspaper. The court also ruled that the owner would have to pay Tesla RMB 10,000 ($1,412) as punishment for defamation.