Tesla Issues Massive Recall of 1.62 Million Vehicles in China for Autopilot Safety Concerns

Tesla is recalling 1.62 million vehicles in China due to the same Autopilot safety issue that required an upgrade for two million vehicles in the US. The fix will be done through free over-the-air (OTA) updates, adding features to ensure that drivers remain attentive while using Tesla’s driver assistance system. This affects nearly every Tesla ever sold in China, including imported Model S and Model X vehicles, as well as Model 3 and Model Y EVs produced in China.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulations (SAMR) stated that drivers may “misuse the level 2 combined driving assistance function, increase the risk of vehicle collision and posing safety risks.” The OTA update in China will include additional controls and alerts to encourage drivers to continue monitoring the vehicle when Autosteer is engaged.

Additionally, Tesla is recalling 7,538 imported Model S and Model X vehicles in China to address a problem with doors unlocking in the event of a collision, also previously addressed in the US. This recall will also be done through an OTA update, eliminating the need for customers to visit Tesla stores.

In the US, the NHTSA has maintained its investigation into Autopilot safety controls open while monitoring Tesla’s fixes. Last August, the regulator announced an investigation into Autopilot following 11 crashes involving parked first responder vehicles since 2018, resulting in 17 injuries and one death. The NHTSA requested detailed documentation from Tesla on Autopilot to understand how the system ensures that human drivers keep their eyes on the road while Autopilot is engaged and whether there are usage limitations.

Tesla recently reported delivering a record 1.8 million EVs globally, with over half (944,779 EVs) sold in China, making it the company’s largest market. The Shanghai plant can produce up to 1.1 million Model 3 and Model Y cars annually for the Chinese market and for export to Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.