The South Korean government has ordered an investigation into the Tesla Model 3 for possible faulty parts, according to local reports.

The US electric vehicle manufacturer has enjoyed a strong sales surge in South Korea this year, helped by generous subsidies made available by the government to encourage sales of zero emission vehicles. 

Sales jumped to 7,079 vehicles in the first half of 2020 from just 422 in the same period of last year, with the Model 3 accounting for 6,839 of these.

Reports suggested each Model 3 sale attracts subsidies of up to KRW12.4m (US$10,400), which allows Tesla to price the car at less than US$44,000 in this market.

In June alone Tesla sold 2,827 vehicles in South Korea, making it the fourth best selling import brand after Mercedes-Benz with 7,672 units; BMW 4,069 units; and Audi 3,401 units.

The company has a network of 450 slow charging stations and 32 superchargers across the country. 

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The Korea Automobile Testing & Research Institute (KATRI), which comes under the Korea Transportation Safety Authority, said it was investigating whether the Model 3's Autopilot driver assist feature poses a safety threat.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport was said to have told local reporters "the probe is focused on the anti-lock brake system and the lane-keeping assist system amid reports that the vehicle may have faulty parts related to its autonomous driving programme".

He added the ministry will order the model to be recalled if it is found to have faulty parts.