Tesla is recalling 81,000 cars in China for seat belt and software problems

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Tesla Inc. is recalling nearly 81,000 electric cars in China, more than it normally ships from its Shanghai factory in any given month, due to a software glitch and seat belt issues.

The US electric vehicle maker will return 70,434 imported Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles, and 10,127 Model 3 cars made in China, according to the nation’s State Administration for Market Regulation. said in a statement Friday.

The Model S and Model X recalls require an over-the-air software fix to fix a flaw in the cars battery management system, which can cause a loss of power, while the Model 3s in question have a seat belt. defective.

Tesla asked affected Model 3 owners to return their cars for service and maintenance if necessary, while urging drivers to be “cautious” on the road.

The American manufacturer of electric vehicles is going through something like a rocky patch in China, the world’s biggest auto market, with deliveries last month falling to 71,704 from a record 83,135 in September, underscoring the automaker’s recent price cut to boost demand.

Tesla is also changing its marketing approach in China, as fierce competition from domestic rivals such as BYD Co. and uneven sales jeopardized its growth plans in what is also the world’s largest electric car market.

Although Tesla recently upgraded its Shanghai factory to double capacity to around 1 million cars a year, wait times for cars have dropped to just a week from 22 weeks earlier this year, a sign that the company is struggling to drive sales to meet those ambitions.

Elon Musk’s company is also experiencing several product safety controversies in China following a recent accident in the southeast of the country that killed two people.

While Tesla said earlier this month that it would assist in a police investigation into the fatal crash involving the Model Y sport utility vehicle, claiming that data taken from the car showed no evidence that the brake pedal had been applied, the driver and his family insisted that the accident must have happened. been caused by a technical problem.

It reminded the public of a high-profile protest last year, during which the owner of a Model 3 got into a display vehicle at the Shanghai auto show and screamed that she almost died because the brakes on her Tesla failed. Tesla, which initially enjoyed a red-carpet welcome in China, has finally apologized publicly after facing criticism from local authorities and state media, without acknowledging any flaws in the car.

Friday’s recall is also not the first for Tesla in China, though its scale is smaller than previous ones.

In June of last year, Tesla had to make a software fix to more than 285,000 carsor most of the vehicles it had delivered there in recent years, to address a safety issue identified by the country’s regulator.

China is Tesla’s biggest market after the United States. The Model Y and Model 3 made at its factory on the outskirts of Shanghai supply the local market and are also exported to other parts of Asia and Europe.

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