(Yicai Global) Sept. 6 -- Beijing Holy Dash Technology & Development Co. has filed a lawsuit against Tesla Motors Sales & Service (Beijing) Co. (Tesla).
The firm bought a Tesla Model X100D Sedan for USD180,000 (CNY1.2 million), but cannot get a new energy license plate because it is not listed in the official Catalog of Recommended Models for the Project of Energy Conservation and New Energy Automobile Demonstration, Popularization and Application (Catalog).
The People's Court in Beijing's Daxing district held a public hearing of the case on Sept. 4. The plaintiff alleged it bought a Tesla Model X 100D sedan, but Tesla failed to advise it at the time of purchase that the vehicle model was not listed in the Catalog and thus authorities were unable to issue an official new energy motor vehicle license. When the plaintiff asked Tesla about its license plate application, the latter replied that the vehicle would be listed in the directory in May. Yet the vehicle model had still not been listed as of Sept. 4.
Tesla's employee conceded withholding true information about the vehicle when communicating with the plaintiff on May 11. Later, Tesla contacted the plaintiff and told it that senior management clearly knew the vehicle model was not listed in the directory, but sold it nonetheless. Tesla rejected the plaintiff's demand for compensation and failed to offer any resolution. Tesla thereafter never contacted the plaintiff again.
Tesla hid true information about commodities by availing itself of trust in its brand, and misled the plaintiff into making the wrong decision and squandering a large sum, the plaintiff asserted, and thus the carmaker committed consumer fraud. The plaintiff demanded treble compensation, in total CNY4 million (USD600,000).
The buyer is responsible for vehicle registration per the vehicle purchase agreement, Tesla countered, and it performed by delivering the vehicle and thus is not liable for breach of contract. The plaintiff also bought the vehicle for company operation, and thus the car does not qualify as a consumer product, so the plaintiff's claims lack either a factual or legal basis for a demand for treble the amount of the vehicle price as damages, per China's consumer protection law, Tesla argued.
The court has not yet pronounced judgment in the case, but will reconvene at an opportune future time.