Tesla Strengthens China Lobby After Beijing Criticizes Security

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Automaker Tesla wants to strengthen ties with Chinese policymakers, and industry sources told Reuters news agency. The strengthened lobby comes after the US automaker was urged to pay more attention to the safety of its cars. Tesla’s handling of consumer complaints is also said to be inadequate.

 

The call to Tesla to do more to gain consumer confidence, as Beijing demands, also comes at a time when China is trying to regulate powerful private companies. This mainly concerns technology companies, where there are concerns about market dominance.

As elsewhere, policymakers in China discuss policies and standards in the automotive industry with global and local companies, industry associations and think tanks. Manufacturers also usually participate in these meetings. Unlike competitors like Toyota and General Motors, Tesla representatives were often absent from these meetings behind closed doors, sources said.

Lately, Tesla would be participating in these kinds of meetings again. This included discussions about data storage, vehicle infrastructure, communication technology, emission of harmful substances, and car parts’ reuse. Tesla would not have made any commitments at the meetings.

Meanwhile, Tesla is also expanding its political lobbying team in China. To that end, it recently posted some job openings on its WeChat account.

Regulators previously called Tesla to account for battery burns and abnormal acceleration of the vehicles. Tesla also had to apologize to the operator of the Chinese electricity network. In a video, Tesla employees appeared to point to a sudden power difference on the network as the cause of damage to a car.

At last month’s major Shanghai auto show, a woman climbed onto the roof of a Tesla in protest. The woman has been campaigning against the company for some time because she and her family were said to have almost died due to faltering brakes.

China, the largest car market in the world, accounts for 30 percent of Tesla’s sales. Only in the US does Tesla sell more cars. The growth in China, where Tesla has its Giga factory, helped the maker of electric cars to deliver a record number of vehicles in the first quarter of this year.

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