Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) faces mounting pressure in China as state media and regulators criticize the electric car maker following a woman’s protest at a major auto show this week.
Tesla could be facing one of its worst public relations crises in China, a market investors see as critical for its growth.
On Monday, a woman who claimed to be a Tesla customer stood atop one of the company’s cars at the Shanghai auto show with a T-shirt that read “brakes don’t work.”
She was protesting an alleged brake failure in her car — an issue other Chinese social media users claiming to be Tesla drivers have complained about in the last several months. A video of the incident went viral on Chinese social networks and was picked up by state media.
On Tuesday, Shanghai police identified the protester by her surname Zhang and said she was sentenced to five days detention for disturbing public order.
Tesla alleged the woman was involved in a collision in February due to “speeding violations” and that in their two months of negotiations, she would not allow a third-party inspection but insisted on a refund for the car.
Tesla’s vice president for China, Tao Lin, claimed in an interview Monday with Chinese financial news publication Caijing that the woman hoped for a high level of compensation, and the company doesn’t have any reason to give it to her.
In a post on Twitter-like service Weibo, Tesla said it would not compromise with “unreasonable demands.”
TSLA shares hiked $1.88, nonetheless, to open Friday at $721.57.