[YesAuto New Energy] Tesla's rights defense incident is gradually dimming. Although the two sides are still deadlocked and the conclusion is undecided, a series of discussions triggered by this incident has gradually deviated from the original track, and has changed from a “brake failure to protect rights”. Questions about the safety of smart cars and the tonality of Tesla's entire brand. Under the so-called “science and technology changing the car” general trend, can some bold innovations and experiments in the automotive industry really serve as a “shield”, and how should the technological innovation be combined with rigorous industrial manufacturing? This issue of “Zhixingke” invited special author Wang Mengxin to look at Tesla's brand setting from a new perspective.
● Can Tesla still stand firm on the altar?
In 2015, Tesla made its debut at the Shanghai Auto Show. “Future Cars” and “Disruptors” are Tesla's labels and become the biggest highlights of the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show. At the Shanghai Auto Show in 2021, Tesla also earned enough eyeballs. Ironically, this time it was not because of product innovation, but because of the public's rights protection caused by product quality issues.
Looking back at Tesla's 8 years of entering China, in addition to the labels of “innovation”, “technology” and “subversion”, “rights protection” is also another label. Some netizens joked that Tesla owners are either defending their rights or on the road to defending their rights. As the world's number one brand of electric vehicles, Tesla has a first-mover advantage. However, with the continuous emergence of product quality and safety accidents, what is Tesla's arrogant confidence? In the face of numerous competitors and the ever-changing needs of consumers, how long can Tesla stand in the altar?
● Review of Public Opinion Disturbance
The Shanghai Auto Show once again sent Tesla to the forefront of public opinion due to the radical rights protection actions of car owners. In fact, if it were not for the unsuccessful protection of rights before, this scene would not have been staged.
There were two women defending rights. They were wearing costumes with the slogan “Brake failure”. One of them jumped on the roof and shouted “Tesla brake failure”; the other chanted rights protection slogans in the exhibition area. The woman on the roof fought back against the staff who came to stop, and was eventually dragged out by two strong security personnel.
It is understood that the woman is the owner of the car surnamed Zhang from Anyang, Henan, and had previously been searched for her rights protection. On the evening of February 21, the Model 3 driven by the owner's father collided with the previous car. According to Ms. Zhang, her father stepped on the brake when he was approaching the vehicle waiting for the red light, but “first stepped on the brake lightly and no significant deceleration was seen, and then stepped on the brake again. He found that the brake pedal was stiff and it was difficult to step on. Invalidated.”
On February 27th, Manager Zhang of Tesla Zhengzhou provided Ms. Zhang with 5.09 seconds of background driving data. The data showed that the vehicle speed was 118.5km/h at that time. Ms. Zhang did not approve of Tesla’s speed data, nor did she believe in the third-party testing agency recommended by Tesla, insisting that the cause of the accident was Tesla’s brake failure.
On March 15, the 12315 Complaint and Report Center of Zhengzhou Market Supervision Bureau received a complaint from Ms. Zhang against Tesla.
On March 16, the Zhengdong New Area Market Supervision Bureau held a special meeting and set up a special class for the complaint.
On March 17, the Zhengdong New District Market Supervision Bureau convened a seminar with leaders at the deputy section level and above, the Market Supervision and Supervision Department and other relevant law enforcement backbones.
The Zhengdong New Area Market Supervision Bureau organized Ms. Zhang to mediate with Tesla Zhengzhou on March 15, March 18, and March 24, but Ms. Zhang did not agree to third-party technical appraisal and requested Tesla to provide the accident Complete data half an hour before the occurrence. And Tesla refused to provide complete raw data on the grounds that the data would be used by the parties for publicity and speculation. The two parties therefore did not reach an agreement.
On March 27th, Tesla executives proposed a solution to Ms. Zhang-agreeing to let the insurance company repair the car, and Tesla will help sell it at a good price after the repair is completed. Ms. Zhang did not accept it, believing that this scheme would continue to harm consumers, and insisted on requesting a refund for the return of the car.
But Ms. Zhang's demands have not been met. So there was a rights defense event at the Shanghai Auto Show on April 19th.
After the incident, the parties, the media, and the regulatory authorities responded to this. The author uses the timeline to sort out the development process of the incident:
At present, the responsibility for the accident is still inconclusive, but judging from past cases, Tesla's quality problems have indeed been criticized. Beginning in 2020, Tesla-related “vehicle quality problems” and “driving safety problems” have occurred frequently. Although most incidents have clear responsibilities, there are no storms, and Tesla's negative reports have started to increase rapidly since then.
Since the development of Tesla's rights defense incident, in addition to questions about safety and quality, another thing that has made Chinese consumers dissatisfied is Tesla's arrogant attitude. And this is the key to why the rights protection incidents can be fermented to such a degree of spread. In fact, it is not uncommon for consumers or dealers to defend their rights at auto shows, but car companies with experience or brand awareness usually have plans to quickly control the vicious spread of the situation. However, the uproar surrounding Tesla's rights defense incident is likely to be “out of control”, indicating that it has not made preparations in advance.
“Tesla is not the first time to participate in the exhibition, nor is it the first time to enter the Chinese market. The rapid fermentation of the incident without making a plan can only show that it is not paying enough attention.” After the incident, its response also remained strong, which shows that arrogance is its consistent style. So where is Tesla's arrogance?
● Technology should not be used as a shield
Since its inception, Tesla has defined itself as a technology car company, and technology is deeply embedded in its genes. Tesla once said: “It is necessary to use the Silicon Valley gameplay to perfectly show the world what is the real car of the future.” Tesla's definition is very clever, which means that its play is different from traditional car companies— —I need to constantly iterate, with the cost and risk of trial and error. And these may require consumers to pay for it.
The first manifestation is its extremely unstable price. Since the completion of Tesla's Shanghai Super Factory in September 2019, Model 3 has experienced multiple price cuts, with a cumulative drop of 114,000. Model Y has a large gap with the initial pre-sale price after it went public. In addition, its unstable quality was frequently exposed and consumers continued to complain. In February of this year, Tesla was jointly interviewed by the General Administration of Market Supervision and other five departments, but quality and safety issues continued.
But every time Tesla can successfully “snap the pot”, in addition to the aforementioned Tesla does not provide complete raw data, another reason is that it has long used “technology” to create a dead-free gold medal for itself. Tesla founder Musk has also publicly responded to quality issues, believing that this is inevitable in its development process, and consumers can make their own choices. The implication is that this is not my problem, it is the mistake of the consumer's purchasing decision.
Since Tesla's technology is not innovative and unique, where is its arrogance? Why stand in the altar and despise consumers? Maybe Tesla never realized that it was consumers who put it on the altar, nor did he expect that it took only 24 hours to fall from the altar.