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Chinese regulators call in Tesla over consumer complaints

Chinese government officials have met representatives from U.S. electric automaker Tesla Inc over reports from consumers about battery fires, unexpected acceleration, and failures in over-the-air software updates, a regulator said on Monday.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said in a social media post its officials, together with those from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Emergency Management, Cyberspace Administration, and Ministry of Transportation had met Tesla “recently”, without providing a date.

The officials prompted Tesla to operate according to China’s laws and protect customer rights, the regulator said.

In response, the automaker said it would thoroughly investigate the issues reported by consumers and step up inspections.

“We will strictly abide by Chinese laws and regulations and always respect consumer rights,” a company representative said in a text message, adding that Tesla agreed to abide by the guidance of the Chinese government departments.

Tesla is building Model 3 electric sedans and Model Y sport-utility vehicles at its Shanghai factory. It sold 15,484 China-made vehicles in January.

The industry ministry in May urged Tesla to ensure consistency in its China-made vehicles after some Chinese consumers complained about less advanced computer chips in their vehicles.

China, the world’s biggest auto market, is pushing the industry to make more electric automobiles as it attempts to decrease air pollution.

Sales of electric, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen-powered vehicles in China are forecast to increase to 20% of all new car sales by 2025 from just 5% now, the State Council said last year.

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