Tesla China “brake failure” protester ordered to post apology

Credit: Tesla China/Twitter

Tesla has won a lawsuit against a Chinese customer who had alleged that her Model 3 sedan suffered from brake failure. As per local reports, the court ordered the customer to publicly apologize to Tesla and pay damages.

The case stems from an incident in April 2021, when Ms. Li, a Tesla owner from Xi’an, Shaanxi province, alleged that her Model 3’s brakes failed and caused her to be involved in an accident. Li posted about the incident on social media, and during the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show, she climbed on top of a Tesla Model 3 display unit with a “brake failure” t-shirt as a form of protest against the EV maker.

Li’s allegations sparked a wave of negative publicity for Tesla in China. The incident also caught widespread coverage among news agencies worldwide. 

As per an appraisal by a court-appointed agency, the braking system of Li’s Model 3 was not faulty at all. The court ruled that Li’s statements about Tesla’s brakes were false and defamatory. Li was ordered to delete her social media posts, publicly apologize to Tesla, and pay RMB 2,000 ($280) in damages. She is also liable to pay RMB 25,390 ($3,554) in case processing fees and RMB 20,000 ($2,799) in vehicle appraisal fees.

This is not the first time that Tesla has been sued by a Chinese customer. In May 2020, Mr. Chen, a Tesla vehicle owner from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, drove his Model 3 into a dozen cars before coming to a stop. Chen then took to social media platforms to allege that his Tesla experienced unintended acceleration and brake failure. However, Chen later admitted that he had fabricated the account and apologized to Tesla.

“After the accident, I was upset even though I knew I had pressed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake. I have been insulting and defaming Tesla Inc. and Tesla vehicles since mid-August 2020 by continuing to fabricate content on Douyin, Weibo, radio and TV interviews about Tesla’s automatic acceleration and brake failure, and about how to cherish life and stay away from Tesla,” Mr. Chen’s statement noted. 

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Tesla China “brake failure” protester ordered to post apology
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