An owner who accused Tesla of brake failure has publicly apologized more than a year after the accident.
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) has faced a number of allegations of brake failure over the past two years in China, although there has been no evidence to prove that this was the case. One of the most well-known cases came from a car owner in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.
However, more than a year after the accident, the owner apologized and admitted that he had fabricated false information.
A Weibo user who identified himself as the Wenzhou owner in his profile released a statement today admitting that he made up his own statements to discredit Tesla and apologizing to the electric vehicle (EV) maker.
As background, the accident occurred on August 12, 2020, when the Model 3 driven by the owner, Mr. Chen, was claimed to have lost control and hit a dozen cars before coming to a stop.
The owner posted short videos on Douyin from August 16, 2020, claiming that the sudden acceleration of the Tesla vehicle and the failure of the brakes caused the accident.
"After the accident, I was upset even though I knew I had pressed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake," today's statement said.
"I have been insulting and defaming Tesla Inc. and Tesla vehicles since mid-August 2020 by continuing to fabricate content on Douyin, Weibo, radio and TV interviews about Tesla's automatic acceleration and brake failure, and about how to cherish life and stay away from Tesla," the statement said.
After the accident, the local traffic department commissioned the Wenzhou Automobile Engineering Society to check the vehicle. In October 2020, the results showed that the car's brake pedal was in a state that was not depressed for five seconds before the collision occurred.
On October 16, 2020, the owner did not object to the results when making a statement at the traffic police department and admitted that the brakes were indeed not applied at that time, but the accelerator pedal was pressed by mistake.
On October 27, 2020, the traffic police determined that the car owner should bear full responsibility for the accident.
In May 2021, the investigation report released by the Wenzhou Automobile Engineering Society showed that data from both China and the United States confirmed that the truth of the accident was that the owner had mistakenly pressed the accelerator pedal as the brake pedal.
In October last year, a local court in Wenzhou issued a verdict showing that the owner was found to have infringed on Tesla's reputation and was required to apologize to Tesla on Douyin and pay damages of RMB 50,000 ($7,750).
The owner, after the results and the accident certificate were made, still posted factually incorrect information about damaging Tesla's reputation on Douyin and Weibo, causing misperceptions of Tesla among internet users, media viewers and others, according to the verdict.
"The case took effect in March this year after the first and second trial. The verdict found that I constituted an infringement of Tesla's reputation and should apologize to Tesla and pay financial damages," today's statement said.
"I am now conscious of the nature of my actions and regret the significant negative impact I have had on Tesla and Tesla vehicles," the statement said, adding, ""I sincerely apologize to Tesla and to those who were misled by my comments."
Notably, the statement mentioned that he was contacted by other people claiming to be Tesla owners to start a class lawsuit, but he declined.
"I also hereby hope that internet users will be discerning and truthful and not be blinded by their own selfishness and the compulsions of others," the statement said.
As of this writing, the Weibo post has received more than 1,300 retweets and has been liked by more than 800 people. A large number of local media outlets have also reported on it.