California regulators aim to scrap Tesla’s ability to sell cars in the state due to the company’s marketing of its ‘fully self-driving’ technology.
DMV regulators in California have accused Tesla of deceptive marketing of its driver assistance systems.
According to the complaint, Tesla’s “full self-driving capability” is not working as claimed.
Penalties may include suspension or revocation of the company’s license to sell cars in the state.
California Department of Automotive 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 “full autonomous driving capability.”
Tesla’s marketing claims that the cars run “autopilot” or “fully self-driving” capabilities — priced at $12,000 — suggest the vehicles operate autonomously, according to complaints filed on July 28.
“All you have to do is go in and tell your car where to go,” one of Tesla’s advertisements mentioned in the complaint read. “If you don’t say anything, your car will look on your calendar and take you there as the default destination. Tesla will determine the optimal route, navigating urban roads, complex intersections and highways. To your destination – when you arrive at your destination, simply exit at the entrance and your car will enter mode Find the corner, automatically find a place and stop itself. A tap on your phone summons it to you.”
But because the company’s cars “were not capable at the time those ads appeared, and cannot now” operate without drivers, the marketing is in violation of California’s law on ads that use incorrect claims to market their products, according to the complaints.
“Respondents have made or disseminated untrue, misleading, and not factual statements in advertising vehicles that they are, or may be equipped, with Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) features,” a pair of complaints against Tesla’s selling and manufacturing divisions.
The penalty for violations may include suspending or revoking the company’s license to sell cars in the state, as well as paying compensation to customers who have been deceived by marketing, according to the complaint.
“The undersigned request the Department of Motor Vehicles to take such action against Defendant’s license as required by the facts of this case,” the complaint signed by regulator Ailene Short, chief of industry services branch of the DMV Professional Licensing Division, read.
Elon Musk said in an interview in June that creating reliable self-driving technology is “essential” to the company’s financial success.
“[T]In an interview with the Tesla Owners Silicon Valley YouTube channel, Musk said he’s focused on a fully autonomous driving solution. “This is essential. It really is the difference between Tesla being worth a lot of money or basically zero.”
But the billionaire has made big promises about self-driving features for years, despite customer complaints, and the fact that Teslas was responsible for 273 of the 400 crashes in the US involving driver assistance systems last year.
In 2019, Musk said he was “sure” that by the end of that year Teslas would be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up, and take you all the way to your destination without interference.
Tesla representatives did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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