Chinese ride-hailing firm Shenma claims 20% of its Tesla fleet malfunctioned

It said it put up massive billboards in the US to publicly shame Tesla

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn.

Shenma Special Car, a Chinese ride-hailing platform that offers high-end private rides via its platform to 500,000 individuals in China, says it has bought a total of 278 Tesla models between 2016 and 2017, and that 20% of them have malfunctioned for mechanical or electrical reasons at some point in time.

The fleet of close to 300 cars would make Shenma the largest Tesla buyer in Asia-Pacific.

Shenma claims that repairs took at least one month or even more because Tesla provided inadequate post-sale services. Communicating with Tesla had not yielded satisfying results.

According to Shenma’s official WeChat account on Friday, the firm then decided to publicly shame Tesla by buying ad space on New York’s famous Times Square.

The WeChat post comes with a photo of the billboard, on which it asks, in Chinese, for an apology from Tesla and RMB 6.5 million (nearly USD 1 million) in compensation.

Shenma said its ad message stopped showing after just 30 minutes. Its WeChat post triggered a wave of Chinese news outlets picking up the caseIn June 2018, Uber counted over 36 million users in Latin America, providing employment for over one million drivers.

Times Square is one of the most expensive ad spaces in the world and Shenma would have likely had to spend a hefty sum for its message to be shown there. KrASIA tried to verify the Chinese company’s story, but could not find any other photos of the moment the ad screened, beyond the one Shenma shared itself.

That said, Shenma might have solid reasons to be unsatisfied with Tesla, as one of the US automaker’s largest clients. Several Tesla owners, not just in China, have complained about malfunctioning vehicles. In the US, several early buyers complained about doors jamming and repairs taking longer than expected.

Tesla’s stock price closed at USD 235.14 on Friday, down by 5.04% compared to the previous trading day.

Tesla has not responded to KrAsia‘s request for a comment on this issue.

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Editor: Nadine Freischlad