Le, the founder of Sino Auto Insights, a newsletter that tracks China's electric-vehicle market, had been following the growing public dissatisfaction with the company for weeks. In an interview with TechNode earlier this month, he dismissed concerns that complaints about the company's customer service and safety bubbling up on social media would slow its sales growth. He reasoned, for all the unhappy customers there are "a ton more" who love Tesla.
But things in China can change fast — especially when the central government decides it's time to shake things up. And in the past few weeks, Beijing — through state-controlled media — has joined the chorus of Tesla critics, and it has the most important and loudest voice of all.