Some Chinese government offices have directed their staff not to park their Tesla cars within the government compounds. The reason cited behind the move relates to security since Tesla cars have cameras installed on them, according to a Reuters report. Two people with knowledge of the matter said that at least two government agencies in Beijing and Shanghai have instructed their officials verbally to not park their Tesla electric cars at work.
It is not known yet if all government offices in Beijing have imposed such restrictions or if the measure is a formal government injunction or a step adopted by agency officials. It is also not clear if the measure is applicable to state agencies nationwide.
In March this year, Tesla vehicles were banned from entering some military complexes in China citing security concerns over vehicle cameras.
The restriction provides a fresh indication of China’s continued wariness of the US electric carmaker amid tensions with Washington.
Facing greater scrutiny after safety and highly publicised customer service complaints in China, Tesla is boosting its engagement with mainland regulators and beefing up its government relations team, industry sources told Reuters previously.
The world’s biggest car market China is Tesla’s second-biggest market making up about 30% of its sales. The company now produces Model 3 and Model Y at its Shanghai plant.
Automakers like Tesla have been equipping more vehicles with cameras and sensors that capture images of a car’s surroundings. Control of how those images are used and where they are sent and stored is a fast-emerging challenge for the industry and regulators around the world.
Tesla cars have several external cameras to assist drivers with parking, changing lanes and other features. Chief Executive Elon Musk has commented frequently on the value of the data that Tesla vehicles capture which can be used to develop autonomous driving.
Days after the March ban on Tesla cars in military complexes, Musk appeared by video at a high-level Chinese forum, saying that if Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, it would be shut down. Tesla said it would open a data centre in China and is developing a data platform for car owners in China.
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