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South Korea has launched a safety probe into Tesla, focusing on braking and steering systems including Autopilot, according to Reuters. The transport ministry is specifically looking at the the Model 3 in an investigation that could take from six months to a year, according to Reuters’ sources. The news casts a bit of a shadow on Tesla’s huge sales surge in the nation, spurred by the Model 3.
Tesla has an excellent safety record overall, but the autopilot system has drawn criticism from the the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). More recently, Tesla’s Autopilot marketing was decried as “misleading” by Korea’s Fair Trade Commission. Tesla will cooperate with the investigation, according to a South Korean transport ministry official.
Tesla has dominated EV sales in Korea, taking over 50 percent of the market and selling over 22,000 vehicles in the first half of 2020. That’s helped in part by 8 million KRW ($6,700) in government subsidies for each Model 3 buyer, along with Tesla’s own investments in 22 superchargers and 172 slow-charging stations in the country. The investigation is still in the early stages, so it’s hard to say yet what impact it will have on Tesla.