Tesla Motors is facing a backlash from angry Chinese customers due to shipment delays and slow progress in building charging facilities outside the big metros, China Economic Weekly reported.
Angry at late delivery of his car, Yu Xiquan, an internet commerce entrepreneur from Hohhot in Inner Mongolia, smashed the windshield of his just arrived Tesla Model S with a wrench on June 27, the report said.
His emotional act marks a strong protest against the company’s failure to keep its promise of delivering a new car on time. Yu is said to have placed order in October last year and paid a deposit of 250,000 yuan as he wanted to be among the first batch of Chinese customers for the electric vehicle. But in the end, he had to wait eight months for delivery of his car.
Yu got an email from Tesla that his Model S will be given top priority in the production line. But until March this year the Tesla website showed that his car was yet to be manufactured. But he heard that some buyers from Beijing and Shanghai have already been notified to take delivery of their Model S.
After lodging a complaint with Tesla, Yu was told that the company has delayed shipping to customers outside Beijing and Shanghai for lack of service centers and charging facilities.
Yu and 22 other people who booked Tesla cars were unhappy with the explanation, and decided to hire attorneys in April to negotiate with Tesla over the delivery. But the negotiations turned out to be disappointing as well.
Zong Yi, a Guangzhou-based entrepreneur, took another innovative approach. After taking delivery of his Model S, he bought 20 recharging posts and invited hotels and restaurants along the Beijing-Guangzhou route to provide space for building the facility. Within 20 days, he had successfully built 20 recharging posts in 16 cities along the route.
The success has inspired Tesla. In early June, the company announced an agreement under which SOHO China and Yintai Group will offer space for charging posts and free charging facilities for Tesla owners.
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