One of the core members of the April 2021 Shanghai auto show drama has been ordered to publicly apologize and pay damages to in a first-instance verdict.

(A Tesla body structure on display in a Tesla showroom. Image credit: CnEVPost)

A drama at the Shanghai auto show two years ago put Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) under the spotlight for a long time. Now, the electric vehicle (EV) maker has won a lawsuit against one of the core members.

In Tesla's reputation infringement case against Ms. Li -- who had previously accused Tesla of brake failure -- the company won the court's first-instance decision, according to an ifeng.com report today.

The court found the Ms. Li, from Xi'an, Shaanxi province, liable for reputation infringement and required her to publicly apologize to Tesla, pay damages, and bear the cost of vehicle appraisal.

In March 2021, Ms. Li was involved in an accident while driving a Tesla vehicle, and on April 19, 2021, Ms. Li and Ms. Zhang from Henan province appeared at the Tesla booth at the Shanghai auto show wearing clothing with the words "Brake Failure," the report noted.

(Surveillance video shows the accident while Ms. Liwas driving. Image credit: ifeng.com)

Ms. Zhang, who stood on top of a Tesla at the show, was briefly detained, and Ms. Li was given an administrative warning, according to the report.

During the course of the case, an appraisal by a court-appointed agency showed that Ms. Li's Tesla Model 3 braking system was normal.

Ms. Li was ordered to delete all statements and comments made in her Weibo posting that damaged Tesla's reputation, and to apologize to Tesla in Weibo, to be displayed for no less than fifteen consecutive days.

Ms. Li was also ordered to pay Tesla RMB 2,000 ($280) in economic damages and costs. She is also liable for RMB 25,390 in case processing fees and RMB 20,000 in vehicle appraisal fees.

In the past few years, accidents involving Tesla have often led to allegations that the vehicle's brakes failed. So far, however, there has been no evidence that any of the accidents were related to the Tesla vehicles themselves.

Another previous incident that sparked widespread concern in China occurred in May 2020, when Mr. Chen, a Tesla vehicle owner in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, drove his Model 3 into a dozen cars before coming to a stop.

Mr. Chen then took to social media platforms to accuse Tesla vehicles of automatic acceleration and brake failure. He admitted in May 2022 that he had fabricated infomation about Tesla and apologized to the company.

($1 = RMB 7.1380)

Tesla Oct sales in China: Model Y at 26,353, Model 3 at 2,273

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