Entertainment

Tesla goes on PR hiring spree in China in bid to find government lobbyists


Tesla is expanding its publicity and government relations teams in China amid regulatory scrutiny and slumping sales blamed on high-profile crashes as well as customer complaints about quality. 

The electric car company is hiring Chinese managers for legal and external relations, according to a job post on its WeChat account, as it faces public scrutiny in the country over safety.

Following complaints from Chinese customers that have created a regulatory headache for Tesla CEO Elon Musk, industry data showed that Tesla’s shipments of China-made cars to the local market plunged 69 percent in July from June to just 8,621 vehicles. 

Tesla, which is making electric Model 3 sedans and Model Y sport-utility vehicles in Shanghai, seeking to beef up its team in several Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is seen above. Tesla is expanding its publicity and government relations teams in China after facing regulatory scrutiny there

The Tesla logo is pictured at its Chinese headquarters in Beijing. The company is hiring Chinese managers for legal and external relations, according to a job post

The Tesla logo is pictured at its Chinese headquarters in Beijing. The company is hiring Chinese managers for legal and external relations, according to a job post

Tesla’s job advertisement did go into details of external relation positions, but separate posts showed the managers will handle government relations as well. 

Reuters reported in May, citing people familiar with the matter, that Tesla was boosting its engagement with mainland regulators and beefing up its government relations team.

The company is hiring lawyers specialized in construction, anti-monopoly and data privacy protection areas, while also looking for public relations managers.

Tesla has been targeted by Chinese state media and regulators after a series of high-profile incidents. 

In April, a customer, angry over the handling of her complaint about malfunctioning brakes, climbed on top of a Tesla car in protest at the Shanghai auto show. Videos of the incident went viral.

In May, a crash involving a Tesla killed a police officer in the eastern city of Taizhou, and footage of the scene was covered heavily by Chinese media.

In April, a customer, angry over the handling of her complaint about malfunctioning brakes, climbed on top of a Tesla car in protest at the Shanghai auto show

In April, a customer, angry over the handling of her complaint about malfunctioning brakes, climbed on top of a Tesla car in protest at the Shanghai auto show

People visit Tesla and Hongqi booth in Nanjing during the 34th International Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition at the Nanjing Air-hub International Expo Center in June

People visit Tesla and Hongqi booth in Nanjing during the 34th International Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition at the Nanjing Air-hub International Expo Center in June

Earlier this year, Tesla vehicles were banned from some government compounds and military complexes in China over fears that their onboard cameras could be used for spying.

Days after the ban was first reported, Musk appeared by video at a high-level Chinese forum, saying that if Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, it would be shut down. 

Tesla later established a data center in China to store car data locally and appease the government there. 

China, the world’s biggest car market, is the electric car maker’s second-biggest market and key to growth plans, accounting for about 30 percent of its sales. 

Tesla now makes electric Model 3 sedans and Model Y sport-utility vehicles in a Shanghai plant for both domestic sales and export.

Last month, the automaker sold 32,968 China-made vehicles in July, including 24,347 for export, industry data showed.

Last year Tesla sales in China more than doubled, to nearly $6.6 billion, but Tesla is no longer the most popular electric vehicle in the market.

China’s top-selling EV is the pint-sized Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV, made in a joint project between Wuling, General Motors and Chinese state-owned automaker SAIC. 

Tesla is also facing regulatory scrutiny in the US, where it has no public relations team.

U.S. auto safety regulators said early Monday they have opened a formal safety probe into Tesla Inc’s driver assistance system Autopilot after a series of crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that since January 2018, it has identified 11 crashes in which Tesla models using Autopilot struck emergency vehicles that were stopped at the roadside.

NHTSA has in recent years sent numerous special crash investigation teams to review a series of individual Tesla crashes.  



Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button