Tesla owner in China admits to fabricating brake failure story, issues apology

Tesla's Made-in-China Model 3. (Credit: JayInShanghai/Twitter)

A Tesla owner in China who purchased one of the company’s vehicles and claimed it had faulty brakes admitted the story was fabricated today in an issued apology on a Chinese social media network.

Tesla fended off many instances of misinformation campaigns in China over the past two years, many of which were owners stating the vehicles had braking issues, which in turn led to accidents. On several occasions, Tesla has confronted these owners with the opportunity to prove the vehicles were faulty, even offering third-party examinations of the cars involved in accidents. Tesla did this with one owner who stood on top of a company vehicle at the Shanghai Auto Show last year, claiming the car she bought from the automaker was not safe. She refused to oblige with Tesla’s third-party audit request, and data from the vehicle showed it was driven aggressively prior to the accident.

It appears another instance of the automaker waiting for proof of vehicle defects has resulted in an apology from an owner. A Weibo user, who identified themselves as the “Wenzhou Owner” in his profile on the platform issued an apology for fabricating a story that his Tesla braking system was not effective.

“After the accident, I was upset even though I knew I had pressed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake,” the owner said. “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.”

Tesla battles new brake failure claim in China, owner admits story is fabricated

The statement was found by Chinese media outlet CNEV Post.

Investigations directly after the crash concluded the vehicle’s brake pedal was not depressed within five seconds of the collision. The owner did not object to the results when making a statement with local police and admitted the brakes were not applied, the accelerator was pressed by accident. All of these conclusions were solidified in October 2020. In May 2021, the Wenzhou Automobile Engineering Society ultimately concluded the accelerator was accidentally pressed, not the brake pedal, confirming the previous findings.

In October 2021, the owner was required to apologize to Tesla on another social media network and pay damages of around $7,500. “The case took effect in March this year after the first and second trial. The verdict found that I constituted an infringement of Tesla’s reputation and should apologize to Tesla and pay financial damages. I am now conscious of the nature of my actions and regret the significant negative impact I have had on Tesla and Tesla vehicles. I sincerely apologize to Tesla and to those who were misled by my comments.”

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Tesla owner in China admits to fabricating brake failure story, issues apology
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