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Tesla faces mounting pressure from China over customer complaints

SHANGHAI, Apr 21 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc faced increased pressure from regulators and state media in China on Wednesday after a disgruntled customer’s protest at the Shanghai auto show went viral on Monday and forced the automaker. electric to apologize.

The criticism against Tesla in China, a country that represents 30% of the global sales of the American firm and where it produces cars in its own factory in Shanghai, comes amid the continuous tensions between the United States and China and at a time when other foreign companies face attacks.

On Monday, a disgruntled customer got into a Tesla at the auto show to protest the way the company addressed her complaints about malfunctioning brakes, sparking a social media storm and prompting intervention from regulators and state media.

Late on Wednesday, China’s market regulator urged Tesla to ensure product quality in the country, while the official Xinhua news agency said Tesla’s apology “was not sincere.”

Tesla declined to comment, but said in a statement that it would share data about the brake incident with regulators.

In videos that went viral from Monday’s car show, a woman wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Brakes not working” shouted similar accusations as staff and security struggled to restore calm.

Tesla on Tuesday apologized to Chinese consumers for failing to address the complaint in a timely manner and said it would launch a review of its service operations in the world’s largest auto market.

However, the Xinhua news agency said that Tesla’s apology was insufficient.

“A great company should have the responsibility to be a great company, no company can do what it wants,” he said in an editorial Wednesday night.

“If a company doesn’t rectify when it has a problem, if it doesn’t change a troublesome senior executive … it will eventually make mistakes again,” he added.

(Report from the Shanghai and Beijing newsrooms; Edited in Spanish by Juana Casas and Ricardo Figueroa)

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