A disgruntled Tesla customer who climbed atop a car in protest at the Shanghai auto show, causing a social media uproar and triggering a business apology, will be detained for five days, Shanghai police said on Tuesday.
The woman and a female companion – only known by their surnames, Zhang and Li – “caused confusion” at the trade show on Monday when they appeared at the Tesla display “to demonstrate their frustration due to a customer dispute,” according to police.
According to police, Zhang was ordered detained for “disrupting public order,” while Li was sent a warning. Zhang was seen wearing a T-shirt with the words “The brakes don’t work” and yelling similar allegations as employees and police tried to maintain order in videos that went viral on Monday.
Tesla released a statement late Tuesday apologizing for not responding to the customer’s complaint promptly and promising to conduct a self-inspection of its service and activities in China.
Tesla sells approximately 30% of its cars in China, which are manufactured in its Shanghai plant. However, it has been chastised on occasion over problems such as battery fires.
Following Monday’s incident, China’s state broadcaster CCTV called for an investigation into alleged Tesla brake issues, while China’s anti-graft watchdog weighed in with a commentary saying such conflicts should be settled according to the rule of law.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said late Tuesday that “individuals should not take drastic action, and companies should not be arrogant and unreasonable.”
The woman was a car owner who had been in a crash earlier this year, Tesla said on Monday. It blamed the accident on “speeding offenses,” and said in a social media post that it had been in negotiations with her over retrieving the vehicle, but that the talks had failed over a third-party inspection. Zhang and Li were unavailable for comment.
On Tuesday, the event remained a hot topic on social media, with two of the top ten trending topics on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. According to Reuters, the Chinese military barred Tesla vehicles from entering its complexes last month, citing security worries about cameras in the vehicles.
Elon Musk responded by saying that Tesla would be shut down if it used cameras to spy in China or somewhere else. Tesla announced earlier this month that its cars’ cameras are turned off outside of North America.