Slow sales don’t appear to be Tesla’s only issue this quarter.
When you can’t get to the bottom of a customer support issue, sometimes taking your complaints public is the best option. That is exactly what iUNICORN, a Chinese ride-sharing company also known as Shenma Zhuanche, did when Tesla failed to address their problems.
The Chengdu-based ride-hailing company bought 278 Teslas in 2016 and 2017. Of those, it claims nearly 20 percent had electromechanical issues, according to a Quartz report. The time-consuming repair process took an average of 45 days. But worse was the cost — the company said fixing the cars cost Shenma 6.5 million yuan, or $970,000.
The company said it tried contacting Tesla multiple times on the issue, to no avail. Shenma posted to Chinese social media site Weibo to air its concerns. When Tesla failed to respond, it took inspiration from the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to address the issue. Shenma bought billboard space on the Thomson Reuters building in Times Square to demand compensation from Tesla.
While the messages were taken down, Shenma offered a rendering of what they looked like. The message is in Chinese, rather than English. However, according to reports, it translates to “Tesla, fix it or not,” “Tesla, compensate or not,” and “Tesla, admit it or not”.
So far, Tesla has declined to comment on the issue. Shenma’s complaints come at a critical time for Tesla, as it aims to expand production and sales in the country. More specifically, the company recently broke ground on its Shanghai Gigafactory. It plans to enter production there to complete against homegrown Chinese electric car manufacturers.