Tesla recalls more than 1.6 million cars in China over problems with Autopilot, locks

Aerial view of Tesla vehicles waiting to be loaded on board a roll-on-roll-off cargo vessel at Nangang port on September 6, 2023 in Shanghai, China.

Vcg | Visual China Group | Getty Images

Tesla is recalling more than 1.6 million cars in China to fix problems with Autopilot features and locks, state regulators announced Friday. Both issues can be repaired through a free over-the-air software update, so drivers do not have to take their vehicles anywhere, regulators said.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said the recall impacts Tesla’s Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y vehicles where drivers can “misuse” a driving assistance feature, “increasing the risk of vehicle collision and posing safety risks,” according to a release. Additionally, more than 7,500 Model S and Model X cars were recalled over concerns that, during a crash, the noncollision side door will unlock.

Shares of the electric automaker closed down less than 1% on Friday.

Tesla’s recall in China follows a similar one in the U.S. that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced in December. The safety regulators recalled around 2 million Tesla cars after determining that some of the company’s Autopilot features were confusing and too easy to misuse.

The NHTSA found that, in some circumstances when a feature called Autosteer is in use, “there may be an increased risk of a collision,” and that the “the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse,” according to filings. Autosteer is a component of Tesla’s “Basic Autopilot” package that is intended for use on “controlled-access highways” and can provide “steering, braking and acceleration support” for drivers in certain conditions, the filings said.

Tesla did not agree with the agency’s findings, according to the documents, but it agreed to roll out a free software update to resolve the problem.

Tesla did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment Friday.

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