- Tesla will recall 285,000 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in China over a problem with cruise-control operation.
- The recall involves mainly around 211,000 Model 3 sedans built in Tesla's Shanghai facility plus more than 35,000 imported Model 3s. Some 39,000 Model Y crossovers, also built in China, are included in the recall as well.
- Tesla owners will receive a free software update to correct the issue, which appears to be limited to China at the moment.
On Saturday, Tesla initiated a recall of more than 285,000 cars in China over safety concerns about the Model 3 and Model Y cruise control system. China's State Administration for Market Regulation said that in certain models the cruise control can be mistakenly switched on when drivers attempt to change gears or if they brush the gear selector by accident, which has the potential of causing the vehicle to accelerate unexpectedly. The recall consists of 249,855 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built at Tesla's Shanghai factory, as well as 35,665 Model 3s that were imported.
Tesla issued a statement on its official account on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media site, apologizing for "any inconvenience this may cause to our car owners" and promising to "strictly follow national regulations and keep improving our safety protection." Chinese Tesla owners affected by the recall will receive a free software update, which they can either have installed over the air or in person.
Tesla has faced other challenges in China in recent months. Five different Chinese regulatory agencies have raised doubts over the quality of Model 3s constructed in the Shanghai factory, and April brought negative press after a protestor mounted the roof of a Tesla at the automaker's booth at the Shanghai Auto Expo, accusing the company of installing defective brakes.
Some of these factors likely contributed to Tesla’s dismal April sales in the country, with only 11,671 cars sold in China, a huge decline from 35,478 units in March. Although sales rebounded in May to 21,936 vehicles, this is still substantially down versus March. EV sales in general in China are through the roof, up 177 percent over last year (versus a 1 percent increase for passenger cars as a whole), and domestic Chinese EV makers including Nio and Xpeng are seemingly gaining ground on Tesla, with the American company losing 4 percent of its EV market share in April.
The recall does not appear to affect Tesla in the United States at the moment, even though 35,665 of the affected Model 3s were imported to China, although it is not clear where they were built. We will update this story if the recall expands to U.S.-market Teslas.
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