Tesla Slammed Over Use of Term ‘Autopilot’ by Consumer Watchdogs
By Ray Prince, HYBRID CARS
May 24, 2018
Consumer groups are calling foul on Tesla’s use of the term “Autopilot” to describe its assisted-driving capabilities.
In a letter sent to the Federal Trade Commission by two U.S. consumer rights groups, the Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog, the message implored for an investigation into Tesla’s marketing practices, citing a lack of disclaimers and excessive marketing speak making consumers believe it is capable of fully self-driving. Several examples were provided, including a Tesla homepage that reads “Full Self-Driving Hardware on All Cars.”
“Two Americans are dead, and one is injured as a result of Tesla deceiving and misleading consumers into believing that the Autopilot feature of its vehicles is safer and more capable than it actually is,” read a portion of the letter to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons.
In response to the letter, a Tesla spokesperson issued the following statement.
“The feedback that we get from our customers shows that they have a very clear understanding of what Autopilot is, how to properly use it, and what features it consists of.”
The letter to the Federal Trade Commissions follows three well-publicized crashes over the last several months, including two fatal crashes in California and Florida and one non-fatal crash in Utah this month.
As of this writing, the Federal Trade Commission has not issued a statement regarding the letter.