Tesla China Vice President Grace Tao has responded to reports of the automaker using defective parts from suppliers at the company’s Giga Shanghai production plant.
“In strict accordance with Chinese laws and regulations, there is no phenomenon of ‘lowering quality for production,'” Tao wrote on her Weibo account earlier today.
Tao’s response comes from an article that was posted by the Chinese media outlet PingWest on Christmas Day, which accused the automaker of sacrificing quality for production volume, which has been a major focus of Tesla this year as demand for EVs ramps up in the country.
The report contains several shocking claims, including several interviews with some of Tesla’s suppliers that claimed the company was willing to accept faulty equipment in parts for their vehicles. One supplier stated that their company “simply can’t make enough parts that meet the quality standard. It’s stressful.” The person interviewed wished to remain anonymous and stated that the solution to Tesla’s overwhelming need for parts has been to send whatever is available, regardless of quality.
However, Tesla maintains that it uses quality parts from suppliers and that it wouldn’t sacrifice quality for the goal of reaching production targets, which have been lofty in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, Tesla has held the title for most popular EV in China with the Model 3 and is set to reach its 500,000 vehicle target this year with the help of demand in Europe and China.
The PingWest article also claimed that Giga Shanghai is being operated as a “sweatshop,” where workers are forced to work long hours to handle the demand increases. No worker has publicly come forward against the company, and there is little evidence suggesting the company is violating any sort of labor laws.
Tesla has not made any statement regarding the article as a company, and Tao maintains the company’s innocence moving forward. “Obviously, it has not been carefully considered and does not conform to the facts,” Tao said in a statement. While Tesla has battled with quality issues in the past, the company has improved significantly through manufacturing techniques and quality assurance checks, and many owners have been happy with the positive changes in Tesla’s build quality.
Moving forward, there is the possibility that a lawsuit from Tesla against PingWest could occur. “The report was flawed in details, and the article was immediately revised within an hour after the article was issued,” a statement said. Additionally, ChinaNews.com says that Tesla has sued the company, but there is no evidence to suggest that a lawsuit has been opened yet.