One of Tesla's cars crashed in Beijing last week while in 'autopilot' mode, with the driver contending sales staff overplaying its actual capabilities. As Hayley Platt reports, after a fatal accident in Florida too there's growing the pressure on auto industry executives and regulators to tighten rules on automated driving technology.
It's a coveted motor in China but Luo Zhen wasn't quite so impressed when his Tesla crashed in Beijing last week on the way to work. The computer programmer says it was in 'auto pilot' at the time. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 33-YEAR-OLD IT PROGRAMMER LUO ZHEN, SAYING: "Tesla's sales department told me that this is an autopilot car and they demonstrated during the test drive. The demonstrator took his hands off the steering wheel and took his feet off the accelerator and brake." The accident is the U.S. firm's first in China. But it comes after a fatal crash in Florida early this year - meaning the stakes are getting higher for Tesla. (SOUNDBITE)(English) CIBC, HEAD OF FX STRATEGY, JEREMY STRETCH, SAYING: "The question is whether the company really trades purely on the basis of having an automated driver system or whether it is a novel and unique car production process which is encouraging buyers to switch from the usual fossil fuel engine." Either way China's a key market for Tesla. It's now investigating the accident and says drivers have a responsibility to maintain control of their vehicles. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 33-YEAR-OLD IT PROGRAMMER LUO ZHEN, SAYING: "This is certainly related to some false promotion and marketing. They described it very well to everyone, but in fact they took an unfinished product and used it as a promotional gimmick to talk about and to sell. That's a problem." It's certainly a problem for auto industry executives and regulators. They're now under even more pressure to tighten the rules on automated driving technology.