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May 5, 2021updated 20 Jul 2021 2:59pm

Tesla strengthens government liaison team in China

By bcusack

Tesla has moved to strengthen its engagement with the Chinese government and industry regulators, according to local reports citing industry sources, as it faces increased government scrutiny following recent safety and customer service complaints in the country.

The EV maker is said to have been actively recruiting additional executives to join its government relations team in recent weeks to increase communication with officials in Beijing. 

This was seen by some as a change of policy following what has been described as the automaker's "relatively limited response" to recent customer complaints.

Earlier this year the automaker was summoned by Chinese regulators following reports of battery fires, unexpected acceleration and failures in over-the-air software updates. The military also banned Tesla cars from its complexes in March citing security concerns.

At last month's Shanghai auto show, a protestor climbed on top of a Tesla car to complain about malfunctioning brakes which was widely reported by the state media with videos going viral.

Tesla is now looking to fully engage with policymakers in Beijing which is normal practice in China and elsewhere. Governments around the world routinely discuss industry policies and standards with local and international companies, industry associations and think tanks. 

In China, automakers such as General Motors, Volkswagen and Toyota routinely take part in 'closed-door' meetings with government officials and regulators while Tesla until recently had been absent from these discussions local sources said. 

In recent weeks, Tesla executives are said have attended several policy meetings, however, on topics ranging from auto data storage, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technologies, car recycling and carbon emissions.

Tesla began vehicle production in China at the end of 2019, at a new plant in Shanghai, while other global automakers have a much longer manufacturing history in the country.

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