Tesla Recalls 1.6 Million Cars In China Over Autopilot Issues

Image credit: Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

Tesla recalls more than 1.6 million vehicles in China over Autopilot safety issues, following similarly massive recall in US last month

Tesla is recalling more than 1.6 million imported Model S and X and 3 and China-made Model 3 and Y electric vehicles over issues with the Autopilot assisted driving function and door latch controls.

It is Tesla’s biggest-ever recall in China and affects the majority of the vehicles it has sold in the country, according to Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) announced the recall on Friday and said the issues would be fixed via an over-the-air update, meaning that in the vast majority of cases there would be no need for drivers to visit a Tesla service centre.

The recall affects a combined 1,610,105 vehicles manufactured from August 2014 to December 2023, the SAMR said.

Image credit: Tesla
Image credit: Tesla

Autopilot safety

The regulator said users could misuse Autopilot, classed as a Level 2 assisted-driving system, and that the recall would reduce this safety hazard.

“For vehicles within the scope of this recall, when the automatic assisted steering function is turned on, the driver may misuse the level two combined assisted driving function, increasing the risk of vehicle collision and posing a safety hazard,” the SAMR said.

Tesla is to separately update the software for 7,538 imported Model S and X vehicles manufactured from 26 October 2022 and 16 November 2023 to fix an issue with door latches that could unlock during a collision.

Last month Tesla recalled two million vehicles in the US – nearly all the vehicles it had sold in the country – over Autopilot safety issues, following a two-year investigation by the US National Highway Traffic Safeety Administration (NHTSA) that found Autopilot to be defective.

Image credit: Tesla
Image credit: Tesla

Added warnings

The recall was required to improve driver monitoring and ensure drivers continued to pay attention while Autopilot was engaged.

Documents Tesla filed with the US government said the update would increase warnings and alerts for drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel.

The SAMR said the update to Autopilot systems in China would similarly add alerts encouraging “drivers to perform their driving duties and comply with driving regulations when this function is enabled”.

Tesla has recalled smaller numbers of vehicles in China over issues including seatbelt, touchscreen  and window-closing functions.

The company was surpassed as the world’s biggest seller of battery electric vehicles in the fourth quarter of last year by China’s BYD.