Tesla recalled over 285,000 vehicles in China on Saturday, specifically the Model 3 and Model Y cars, over questionable safety features related to its cruise control mechanism, CNN reported.
This cruise control feature is activated as drivers shift gears or inadvertently touch the gear selector, which would result in accidental acceleration, CNN quoted China's State Administration for Market Regulation as saying.
Tesla Recall: Vehicles to Undergo Assisted Driving Software Update
For the recalled cars, Tesla is set to make a software update to its assisted driving feature, with owners not obliged to return their vehicles. The market regulator said it received the Tesla recall request days earlier that affects vehicles made from December 2019 to June 2021, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The software recall covers 249,855 China-made Model 3 and Model Y cars, and 35,665 imported Model 3 sedans, a Reuters report said. Based on industry data, Tesla had sold 33,463 China-made electric vehicles in May, a slight increase from about 26,000 in April, which had been on a downtrend. CNN reported that Tesla competitors in China, Xpeng and Li Auto, all had increased EV domestic sales.
Tesla had faced intense scrutiny before Chinese regulators over the safety of its Model 3 cars manufactured in Tesla's Shanghai plant that may have led to apprehension among Chinese buyers.
Tesla Apologizes for Recall, Vows to Improve Safety Protection
In a statement posted on the company's Weibo account, Tesla apologized for the recall, saying that it will "strictly follow national regulations" while focusing on "improving our safety protection" to provide a safer driving experience for customers.
A Tesla spokesperson declined further comment, the Wall Street Journal said.
The Tesla recall would add to immense challenges the Elon Musk-led automaker is facing in China, wherein customer confidence had been shaken due to bad publicity over customer service and quality issues, CNN further noted.
Tesla Recall: 98.7% of Recalled Vehicles Made from Shanghai Plant
The Wall Street Journal report also mentioned that the recalled vehicles comprised 98.7 percent of all sold Tesla autos that were manufactured by the company's Shanghai plant, citing figures from the China Passenger Car Association. Tesla continues to keep mum on production figures and monthly sales domestically.
Last April, the Wall Street Journal further reported, a Tesla customer protested during Auto Shanghai, China's biggest car expo, calling out the automaker about faulty brakes in its vehicles. This led to Tesla issuing a public apology and vowed to create a customer satisfaction unit to handle such issues.
In February, Chinese authorities summoned Tesla over consumer complaints due to quality concerns. Tesla is the foreign owned car firm to operate a wholly owned manufacturing plant in China.
Musk: China will be Tesla's Largest Market
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had declared that China would potentially become Tesla's largest market, with its first operational plant outside of the US getting Chinese approval in 2018, even with worsening trade relations with the US under then president Donald Trump, the Wall Street Journal further reported.
However, bad publicity seemed to lead potential buyers to avoid the brand, with some users on Weibo declaring that the company had been "arrogant" in dealing with customers.