SHANGHAI— Tesla Inc. has been summoned by Chinese authorities citing consumer complaints about quality issues, a warning for the electric-vehicle maker in a country where it has enjoyed a welcome rarely seen for foreign companies.
The State Administration for Market Regulation, China’s top market regulator, said Monday that it and four other regulators had instructed Tesla to abide by Chinese laws and regulations and strengthen internal management to ensure the quality and safety of its products.
It was a rare rebuke for Tesla, the first foreign auto maker to operate a wholly-owned plant in China.
In a statement late Monday in China, Tesla Shanghai said it “sincerely accepted the guidance of government departments.” It said it had “deeply reflected on shortcomings” and was working on strengthening its operations. It also said it would investigate Chinese consumers’ complaints and abide by Chinese laws and regulations.
The tone the car maker struck in its response to Chinese regulators differed sharply from the stance Chief Executive Elon Musk has taken in the U.S. when he has come in for government scrutiny. In 2018, he sparred with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which investigated his tweets about taking Tesla private, a move that didn’t happen. Last year, he battled with local authorities in California that temporarily ordered his lone U.S. car plant closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.