Tesla is recalling 1.62 million vehicles in China over the same Autopilot safety issue that forced it to upgrade two million vehicles in the US. As before, fixes will be done will be via free over-the-air (OTA) updates to add features that ensure drivers pay attention while using Tesla’s driver assistance system. It affects nearly every Tesla ever sold in the country, including imported Model S and Model X vehicles along with Model 3 and Model Y EVs made in China.
According to China’s State Administration for Market Regulations (SAMR), drivers may “misuse the level 2 combined driving assistance function, increase the risk of vehicle collision and posing safety risks.” Like in the US, the OTA update will incorporate additional controls and alerts that encourage drivers to continue monitoring the vehicle when Tesla’s Autosteer function is engaged.
Tesla is also recalling 7,538 imported Model S and Model X vehicles to fix a problem that may prevent doors from unlocking in the event of a collision — an issue also addressed earlier in the US. That recall will be done via an OTA update as well, with no need for customers to go to Tesla stores.
Stateside, the NHTSA has kept its investigation into Autopilot safety controls open as it monitors Tesla’s fixes. The regulator said last August that it was opening an investigation into Autopilot following 11 crashes with parked first responder vehicles since 2018 that resulted in 17 injuries and one death. In a letter to Tesla sent shortly afterward, the regulator requested detailed documentation on Autopilot to know how it ensures that human drivers will keep their eyes on the road while Autopilot is engaged and whether there are limits on where it can be used.
Earlier this week, Tesla said that it delivered a record 1.8 million EVs around the world. Over half of those (944,779 EVs) were sold in China, making it the company’s biggest market by far. Tesla’s Shanghai plant can produce up to 1.1 million Model 3 and Model Y cars a year for the Chinese market and exports to Europe, Australia and New Zealand.