California Regulators Aim to Revoke Tesla Dealer License Over Deceptive Practices

  • California DMV regulators accused Tesla of misleading marketing about its driver assistance systems.
  • Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving Capability” is not working as claimed, according to the complaint.
  • Sanctions may include suspension or revocation of the company’s license to sell cars in the state.

California Department of Motor Vehicles regulators are targeting Tesla’s license to sell cars in the state after accusing the company of deceptive business practices for marketing what it calls its “full self-driving capability.”

Tesla’s marketing claims that the cars work with “autopilot” or “Full Self-Driving” capabilities — for a $12,000 price tag — suggested the vehicles operate autonomously, according to complaints filed July 28.

“All you have to do is get in and tell your car where to go,” reads a Tesla ad quoted in the complaint. “If you don’t say anything, your car will look at your calendar and take you there as the supposed destination. Your Tesla will determine the optimal route, navigating urban streets, complex intersections and highways. Getting to your destination – When you arrive at your destination you just get out at the entrance and your car goes into parking search mode, automatically searches for a spot and parks itself. A tap on your phone calls it back to you.”

But because the company’s vehicles “at the time of those ads couldn’t, and can’t now” operate without a driver, the marketing is violating California law against ads that use false claims to market their products, the company said. complaints.

“Respondent has made or disseminated statements that are untrue or misleading, and not based on fact, in advertising vehicles equipped or possibly equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) features,” the complaints read against Tesla’s dealer and manufacturing departments. .

The penalty for the violations could include suspension or revocation of the company’s license to sell cars in the state, as well as paying refunds to customers misled by its marketing, according to the complaint.

“The undersigned prays that the Department of Motor Vehicles will take such action against the Defendant’s license as warranted by the facts of this case,” reads the complaint, signed by regulator Ailene Short, the DMV’s head of industrial services sector. professional organization. licensing department, read.

Elon Musk said in a June interview that creating reliable self-driving technology is “essential” to the company’s financial success.

“[T]The overwhelming focus is on solving fully self-driving traffic,” Musk said in an interview with the “Tesla Owners Silicon Valley” YouTube channel, published Tuesday. “That’s essential. It’s really the difference between Tesla being worth a lot of money or actually worth zero.”

But the billionaire has been making big promises about self-driving features for years, despite customer complaints and the fact that Teslas were responsible for 273 of nearly 400 US driver-assistance crashes in the past year.

In 2019, Musk said he was “sure” that by the end of that year, Teslas could “find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without intervention.”

Tesla representatives did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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