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Tesla, the American electric car giant, has announced a significant recall of more than 1.6 million vehicles in China due to issues with steering software and door-locking systems, as reported by the Chinese regulator. This recall affects several of Tesla’s popular models including the S, X, 3, and Y, and includes 7,538 imported vehicles.
In a move reflecting the advancements in vehicle technology, Tesla plans to address these problems through remote updates to the software. This innovative approach means that the affected vehicles will not require physical visits to dealerships or garages for repairs.
This latest recall comes on the heels of a similar situation in the United States, where Tesla recalled two million cars last month due to problems with the autopilot software. In May of the previous year, the Chinese regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), had identified potential issues in over a million vehicles concerning acceleration and braking systems.
Following these discoveries, Tesla identified additional concerns related to assisted driving functions and door-locking mechanisms. The SAMR has termed this software update process as a recall, despite its remote nature.
According to the SAMR, the recall is intended to rectify issues with the autosteer function and reduce the risk of collisions. The software update will target a total of 1,610,105 vehicles, spanning across imported Models S and X, and China-made Models 3 and Y produced from 2014 to 2023.
“For vehicles within the scope of this recall, when the automatic assisted steering function is turned on, the driver may misuse the level two combined assisted driving function, increasing the risk of vehicle collision and posing a safety hazard,” the SAMR explained.
In a separate initiative, Tesla will also upgrade the software in 7,538 units of Models S and X cars to address the issue of doors potentially unlocking during crashes.
This series of recalls marks a challenging period for Tesla in China, especially following the news that China’s BYD has surpassed Tesla in electric car sales worldwide in the last quarter of 2023. This setback is compounded by a previous recall in 2022, where nearly 128,000 Tesla cars were recalled in China over a rear motor inverter defect.
Tesla has established a significant market presence in China, buoyed by government incentives encouraging the purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles. With a goal to transition to clean energy-powered vehicles by 2035, China remains a critical market for Tesla. The company’s Shanghai gigafactory, its first manufacturing plant outside the United States, produced 947,000 vehicles in 2023, as reported by the state news agency Xinhua.