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EXCLUSIVELY Tesla, monitored in China, strengthens interaction with regulators

Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), facing a safety and customer service complaint in China, is stepping up its engagement with continent regulators and strengthening its government liaison team, industry sources said.

The change in Tesla̵

7;s strategy, leading to greater behind-the-scenes engagement with politicians in Beijing compared to relatively shortly before, shows the seriousness with which the American carmaker views the failures of its second-largest market.

It also comes at a time when China is trying to regulate large and powerful private companies, especially in the technology sector, due to concerns about their market dominance. Read more

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday, an official holiday in China.

As elsewhere, regulators in China, the world’s largest automotive market, discuss industry policies and standards with global and local companies, industry associations and think tanks.

Manufacturers typically join such meetings in China, but unlike competitors, including Toyota Motor (7203.T) and General Motors Co (GM.N), Tesla employees were largely absent from closed-door meetings, according to four people familiar with the matter. .

Instead, Tesla employees regularly speak at senior industry conferences. Outside of China, Tesla’s outspoken CEO Elon Musk regularly tweets to comment on or criticize regulators or rules.

But in recent weeks, Tesla executives have attended at least four policy discussions on topics including automatic data storage, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technology, car recycling and carbon emissions, people said.

California-based Tesla, which makes Model 3 electric sedans and Model Y sports cars at its own plant in Shanghai, did not make major commitments at the meetings, but participated in some discussions, they said.


Tesla is also expanding its government liaison team in China, one source said.

According to two April recruitment announcements in its WeChat account, Tesla is hiring managers to update a policy database and liaise with government and industry associations to “build a harmonious external environment to support business development.” Tesla in the regional market. “

It was not immediately clear how many managers Tesla planned to hire for government relations.

Reporting about 30% of Tesla’s global sales, China is the second largest car market after the United States and helped it record record vehicle deliveries for the first quarter. Read more

In the last few months, the pressure has been on Tesla’s mostly excellent relations with Beijing.

In February, Chinese regulators called for it due to consumer reports of battery fires, unexpected acceleration and failures in on-air software updates. Read more

And in March, Tesla came under tight scrutiny when the military banned cars from entering its complexes, citing concerns about the safety of vehicle cameras, Reuters sources said at the time. Days later, Musk appeared via video at a high-level forum, saying that if Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, he would be imprisoned. Read more

Last month, Tesla targeted state media and regulators after a customer, angry at the handling of her brake failure complaint, climbed on top of a Tesla car in protest at the Shanghai Motor Show. The videos from the incident went viral. Read more

Grace Tao, vice president of Tesla, which directs its efforts to liaise with the Chinese government, was criticized in the state media last month after being quoted in a media interview asking whether the injured customer was acting alone. Read more

In response to various complaints, Tesla said it would set up a Chinese data center, launch a self-inspection to improve services and work with regulators. Read more

Our standards: Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.

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