Chinese regulators met with executives from Tesla recently after several government agencies reported “an unusual acceleration” of complaints from consumers about battery fires and other quality issues with the company’s electric cars.
In a post on the Chinese social media platform WeChat, the State Administration for Market Regulation said officials from five government agencies interviewed Tesla executives and “asked them to strictly abide by Chinese laws and regulations, strengthen internal management, and implement corporate quality and safety regulations.”
Tesla acknowledged its “shortcomings in the business process,” and agreed to improve the quality and safety of its vehicles, the regulator said in the posting.
The electric carmaker has struggled with quality issues as it has scaled its production from tens of thousand cars a year to 500,000 in 2020. On social media, customers have documented numerous problems with new Teslas, including large gaps between body panels, poor paint jobs and chipped glass. Those complaints have been echoed in surveys about and reviews of the company’s cars by J.D. Power and Consumer Reports.
Last week, Tesla recalled 135,000 vehicles in the United States to deal with a problem with touch screens in its Model S and Model Y cars. The screens had been found to have a high rate of failures. Tesla had initially resisted recalling the cars but came under pressure to do so by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
In a letter to the U.S. auto safety regulator last month, a Tesla executive said the screens, which drivers use to control many of the functions of their cars, were not meant to last more than five or six years.
Amid the so-called meme stock frenzy, it is perhaps fitting that a cryptocurrency based on a meme has been swept up in the mania.
Dogecoin, a digital currency created as a joke, is now the world’s 10th largest cryptocurrency, according to CoinMarketCap. Its price is up by more than 1,600 percent so far this year, pushed in recent days by celebrity cheerleading from the likes of Tesla’s Elon Musk, the rapper Snoop Dogg and the rocker Gene Simmons of Kiss, who all promoted Dogecoin on social media.
Dogecoin is called the “fun and friendly internet currency” by its creators. The token was created in 2013 as meme-based satire about the proliferation of dubious crypto coins at the time. The “Doge” internet meme, featuring a perpetually surprised Shiba Inu dog, was gaining viral fame at the time.
Dogecoin holders often use the tokens to give each other small tips in online forums or band together to take on unlikely causes, like sponsoring Jamaica’s two-man bobsled team at the Winter Olympics in 2014.
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