Tesla sued for ‘deceiving’ consumers about self-driving cars
- Tesla faces scrutiny from US regulators over the safety of its automated driving systems and will face its first jury trial in February over a driver fatality
- Musk told a Tesla owners club in June that solving full self-driving technology is ‘the difference between Tesla being worth a lot of money and being worth basically zero’
Tesla Inc was sued for failing to deliver on Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s long-standing promise to produce a fully self-driving car.
A California man claims the electric-car maker has “deceptively and misleadingly marketed” its driver-assistance systems, while stringing the public along with statements that the company is “perpetually on the cusp of perfecting” the technology.
“Although these promises have proven false time and time again, Tesla and Musk have continued making them to generate media attention, to deceive consumers into believing it has unrivalled cutting-edge technology, and to establish itself as a leading player in the fast-growing electric-vehicle market,” Briggs A. Matsko, a resident of Rancho Murieta, said in the proposed class action, filed Wednesday in San Francisco federal court.
Tesla faces increasing scrutiny from US regulators over the safety of its automated driving systems and is set to face its first jury trial in February over a driver fatality blamed on Autopilot.
Matsko says that every year since 2016, Musk and Tesla have promised that a fully self-driving car “was just around the corner”.
Musk, the world’s richest person, told a Tesla owners club in June that solving full self-driving technology is “really the difference between Tesla being worth a lot of money and being worth basically zero”.
Musk tweeted in August that as of September 5, Tesla would start charging US$15,000 in North America for the driver-assistance system it calls Full Self-Driving, the product’s second price hike this year. Tesla’s FSD has stirred controversy because it requires active supervision and does not make the company’s vehicles autonomous.
Matsko said he bought a new Tesla Model X in 2018 and paid the company an extra US$5,000 above base price for “Enhanced Autopilot”.
“It is now four years later, and Tesla has never provided plaintiff anything remotely approaching the fully self-driving car it promised to provide,” Matsko said in the complaint.
The suit piggybacks on an administrative complaint filed in August by the California Department of Motor Vehicles accusing Tesla of false advertising. The agency claims the company’s statements about its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features lead customers to believe they are more advanced than they are. Tesla has asked for a hearing to defend itself.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.