The owner of a Tesla Model X in China will have to pay the electric automaker 10,000 RMB (~$1,400) for calling his SUV a “killing” or “suicide toy.”
The owner of the Model X, Mr. Wen, has long asserted that while he was driving his vehicle from Fuyang to Zhenghou, the brakes failed and it quickly decelerated from 100 km/h (62 mph) to 60 km/h (48 mph) without his input. He spoke with various Chinese media outlets about his experience where he labelled the Model X as a “suicide toy.” Tesla’s Chinese media relations arm took notice and went after Mr. Wen suing him.
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The case went to court where it was revealed that Mr. Wen had claimed that no one from the automaker had contacted him after the incident. However, during the case, Tesla presented evidence revealing that it had indeed contacted him on the day of the incident, asking for information about what happened. Tesla also asserted that it tried multiple times to inspect the Model X but the owner repeatedly refused.
The court ruled that the remarks made by the owner about the Model X caused Tesla’s “social evaluation to be lowered” and that its “right of reputation was violated.”
The defendant has been forced to apologize for his remarks but only after the content of the apology was reviewed and approved by the court. The apology was then published in Henan Legal News. Mr. Yen is also required to pay Tesla 10,000 RMB (~$1,400) within 10 days of the judgement.