Tesla Faces Allegations of False Marketing Over Autopilot

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jun.11 - 2024 8:31 AM CET

Tesla faces legal challenges in California.

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A California judge has ruled that Tesla must address accusations of misleading consumers about its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features.

California administrative judge Juliet Cox has denied Tesla's request to dismiss claims by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV accuses Tesla of exaggerating the self-driving capabilities of its vehicles, as reported by Reuters.

Judge Cox stated that if these accusations are true, they justify action against Tesla.

Possible Consequences

In July 2022, the DMV accused Tesla of misleading consumers by advertising that their vehicles could operate as fully autonomous, which they could not and still cannot do.

The DMV is seeking actions that could include suspending Tesla's license to sell vehicles in California and requiring Tesla to compensate affected vehicle owners.

Tesla and its lawyers have not commented on the judge's decision. The DMV confirmed that the case will be reviewed on September 9.

This ruling follows another decision by a San Francisco federal judge on May 15, rejecting Tesla's attempt to dismiss a nationwide class action lawsuit. The lawsuit claims Tesla misled consumers into believing their vehicles would soon have full self-driving capabilities.

Tesla is also facing federal investigations into whether its self-driving technology contributed to fatal crashes. Federal prosecutors are examining whether Tesla misled investors about its self-driving features.

Tesla's Defense

Tesla, based in Austin, Texas, claims that its Autopilot allows vehicles to steer, accelerate, and brake within lanes, while its Full Self-Driving feature helps vehicles obey traffic signals and change lanes.

But Tesla admits these features do not make the vehicles fully autonomous and that drivers must stay attentive.

California, Tesla's biggest U.S. market, accounts for about 10% of its global deliveries.

Despite this, Tesla's sales in California have declined over the past two quarters. Its market share in the state fell to 55.4% in the first quarter from 61.8% a year earlier.

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