Tesla Threatens Lawsuit Over ‘Giga-Sweatshop’ Hit Piece in China, Defends Build Quality

Tesla has been defending itself in China lately, after tech site PingWest posted a misinformation article detailing Gigafactory Shanghai as a “Giga-sweatshop”.

A tit-for-tat online spread on Chinese social media site Weibo between Tesla and PingWest, with the latter partially owned by UCWeb. As for UCWeb? It’s owned by Alibaba Group Holding, which is backing Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng, with the latter accused of stealing Tesla Autopilot source code by Elon Musk.

Now, we’re starting to see some pushback in terms of positive Tesla build quality reports, as noted in a recent story in the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Tesla clarified in a statement to the China News Service on Wednesday it can track build quality for each component assembled in its entire factories, thanks to software, with data held for over 10 years. The electric vehicle maker did not comment on whether it would take PingWest to court.

“Tesla’s Gigafactory in Shanghai engages in manufacturing in accordance with China’s laws and regulations,” said Tesla in a statement. “The manufacturing process is managed based on the highest standards and in a consistent manner.”

The SCMP story cites a September 2020 JD Power vehicle build quality survey in China, which found Tesla ranking in second place, behind other EV automaker NIO, based in China.

Tesla has landed a 113 for the Shanghai-made Model 3 on JD Power’s electric vehicle (EV) survey, according to the firm’s website. The score falls just behind the likes of NIO’s 109, a Chinese company that is expected to said to compete directly with Tesla in the years to come.


According to JD Power China’s General Manager of Auto Product Practice Jeff Cai, the Model 3 is an impressive car from a quality standpoint, and it sets the bar for traditional automakers looking to make the shift towards EVs.

Cai said, “Tesla Model 3 is well-received by Chinese consumers as its design and performance beat their expectations in many aspects.” He continued, “In terms of driving experience and digital connectivity, conventional car brands now have a lot to learn from smart EV makers like Tesla.”

As Tesla continues to push legacy automakers into the future, it’s likely to continue facing dense competition in China, the world’s largest auto market. While Chinese EV startups like NIO and Xpeng Motors continue to perform well in their home country, Tesla will need to keep stepping up its game to maintain a high bar of quality.