Tesla Sues Chinese Social Media Influencer for Defamation

By Alex Wu
Alex Wu
Alex Wu
Alex Wu is a U.S.-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights, and international relations.
January 28, 2022Updated: January 28, 2022

American electric carmaker Tesla, Inc. is involved in another high profile lawsuit in mainland China. The company is suing a Chinese social media influencer for defamation.

Mainland Chinese media Securities Times reported on Jan. 26 that Tesla would sue a Chinese social media influencer with the account named of Xiaogang Senior for reputation damage. The carmaker confirmed to the media that the company had filed a suit against Chen Zhengang (influencer’s real name) on Jan. 26 for falsifying data in his car test video.

According to reports from Chinese internet news portals Sohu and NetEase, at the end of April 2021, Xiaogang Senior conducted emergency braking tests (AEB) on a Tesla Model 3 and a Chinese electric car Xpeng P7.

In his three experiments, the Tesla Model 3 directly hit an obstacle twice because of “no braking response.” Assessing the test results, Xiaogang bluntly said that the Tesla could not stop.

After the video went viral, some netizens found that during the test, the kinetic energy recovery bar of the Tesla Model 3 showed that the accelerator pedal was manually depressed when the vehicle was about to collide with the fake car in front.

Netizen Xiao Li Feiche believes that Xiaogang Senior covertly pushed on the accelerator during the test, which caused the vehicle to fail to stop. When running non-standard tests, the test results can be misleading.

Many car reviewers also accused the influencer of being immoral, but Xiaogang Senior insisted that there was no fraud and that the video was real and valid.

The tests video came out a week after a Chinese Tesla owner made a scene at the Shanghai auto show accusing Tesla of brake failure and causing her father to have an accident.

Tesla posted on it’s account on Chinese social media platform Weibo on May 25, 2021: “We have established data centers in China to localize data storage, and will add more local data centers in succession. All data generated from the vehicles sold in mainland China will be stored in the country.”

Since then, Tesla’s legal department has successively counter sued some who made unfounded accusations against the carmaker in China, including the woman at the Shanghai auto show.

As for being sued by Tesla, Xiaogang responded on his Weibo account, “Okay, I know.” Xiaogang Senior has not disclosed any further information yet.