Complaints grow in China against Tesla autos

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BEIJING (AFP) – Electric carmaker Tesla is facing a backlash in China just as local competitors seek to challenge the US-based company’s share of the Asian giant’s market.

China’s market watchdog agency and its consumer protection agency issued statements Wednesday referencing an incident at the Shanghai Auto Show that went viral on Chinese social media.

At the show a woman climbed on top of a car Monday and yelled that she was almost killed when the brakes on her Tesla failed. She wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the Tesla logo and the words “brake failure”.

The woman was eventually wrestled to the ground by plain clothes security guards, but not before several onlookers as well as a reporter from state-affiliated Global Times took video of the incident and posted it online.

Shanghai police jailed the woman for five days for disrupting the peace, but her message nevertheless gained traction.

“A Tesla owner who recently defended her rights at the Shanghai Auto Show has aroused widespread concern,” China’s market watchdog agency said in a statement.

The agency said it “attaches great importance to that”, adding that it instructed local officials “to protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers in accordance with the law”.

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