Electric car giant Tesla will “recall” more than 285,000 cars from the Chinese market after an investigation that showed their driver assistance software could cause collisions, the Chinese government said Friday evening.
Tesla, which has indicated that the alert concerns some of the Model 3 and Y models, either imported or made in China, will contact affected owners and replace their software with a new version for free.
It is the latest of the problems for the self-driving car pioneer, the subject of investigation by Chinese authorities after several fatal crashes in recent months.
“Due to problems with the speed control system (…), the driver can easily start it by mistake,” the authorities noted in their report. “This can cause a sudden increase in speed, and, in extreme cases, cause a collision.”
The automaker has also had to deal with numerous complaints on social media from its Chinese customers over quality and service issues.
It culminated in the protest, at the Shanghai Auto Show and widely reported by media and social networks, of a customer who said she nearly died due to a failure of the brake system on her vehicle.
The speed control system, which is supposed to “control the speed of the vehicle to keep up with that of surrounding traffic,” is an important part of the driving assist function, according to the Tesla website.
The American company, which has been allowed, which is rare in China, to build a factory in Shanghai without a Chinese partner, is very popular in China, where it sells a quarter of its cars.
The announcement of the recall caused Friday in the United States a drop of nearly 8% of the Telsa share.