Chinese court fines social media influencer for claims made over Tesla Model Y crash

Tesla has been handed another legal victory in China, with a court issuing a fine against a social media influencer who had claimed a tragic accident that resulted in two fatalities and three injuries was because of issues with the Model Y.

The accident occurred in November 2022 in the southern province of Guangdong. Surveillance footage shows the driver attempting to pull over and stop his Model Y in front of his shop, before the car accelerates and reaches speeds as high as 102mph (164km/h), with the driver swerving around slow moving traffic before eventually hitting and killing a motorcyclist and a high school girl.

The accident quickly made headlines with claims of brake failure and unintended acceleration. These were bolstered by comments from the driver’s family that he had issues with the brake pedal and could not stop the vehicle, a common claim after accidents such as this. However a subsequent investigation showed that the accelerator was fully pressed and no pressure was applied to the brakes the entire time during the incident, including in the last five seconds before the crash.

In the aftermath Tesla filed a lawsuit against a prominent social media influencer on Douyin (China’s equivalent of TikTok), who blamed the accident on issues Model Y. Now that influencer has been directed by the court to issue a public apology on his account and pay Tesla compensation of ¥30,000 yuan (C$5,600/US$4,100) for defamation, according to a report from the Shanghai Securities News. (via Bloomberg)

This ruling in China comes on the heels of another victory for Tesla in the US this week, where the company was cleared in its first jury trial over a fatal crash involving Autopilot.

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