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Chinese court orders failed brakes protester to pay Tesla RM 110k over viral stunt at 2021 Shanghai Auto Show

CY Foong · Jun 5, 2024 01:50 PM

Chinese court orders failed brakes protester to pay Tesla RM 110k over viral stunt at 2021 Shanghai Auto Show 01

Three years ago, a woman staged a protest by standing on top of a Tesla car at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show. Zhang Yazhou alleged a crash involving a Tesla Model 3 driven by her father was caused by brake malfunction and her stunt went viral globally.

However, it was recently revealed by a Chinese court that the whole protest was staged. Zhang was ordered by the court to apologize and pay more than CNY 170,000 (~RM 110k) to Tesla according to a report by China’s financial news website, Caixin.

Chinese court orders failed brakes protester to pay Tesla RM 110k over viral stunt at 2021 Shanghai Auto Show 02

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This is the second lawsuit in China which saw Tesla awarded damages from customers alleging its Model 3 suffers from brake failure issue. In November 2023, a court ordered another customer involved in the protest to publicly apologise to Tesla and pay CNY 2,000 (~RM 1.3k) in damages.

Both protesters claimed the Model 3’s brake failure caused an accident. The plaintiff in the November case, Li, later sold her Model 3 which was bought back by Tesla from the new owner.

The BEV was then inspected by a court-appointed agency with the results showing the braking system was not faulty and met national technological standards.

Chinese court orders failed brakes protester to pay Tesla RM 110k over viral stunt at 2021 Shanghai Auto Show 01

In the latest case, Tesla argued that the driver, Zhang's father, was speeding and did not keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. According to the court, Zhang failed to request a judicial inspection of her vehicle and did not provide evidence to support the claim of brake failure.

During the trial, Zhang admitted that her assertion of brake failure was a subjective judgement. The court also revealed that Zhang deliberately staged a brake failure protest at Tesla’s booth at the auto show to attract media attention.

CY Foong

Writer

Traded advertising for a career that fits his passion for cars. Enjoys spotting cars during his free time and has a soft spot for Japanese Kei cars but drives a thirsty manual sedan.

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