Tesla facing dealer license suspension in California on 'deceptive' Autopilot name
The Los Angeles Department of Motor Vehicles has filed an accusation with the California Office of Administrative Hearings that wants Tesla's special plates and dealer license revoked or at least suspended over "deceptive" Autopilot marketing. "Respondent made or disseminated statements that are untrue or misleading, and not based on facts, in advertising vehicles as equipped, or potentially equipped, with advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features," says the filing by citing a few ad examples like the one below:
All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go. If you don't say anything, your car will look at your calendar and take you there as the assumed destination. Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigating urban streets, complex intersections and freeways. To your Destination - When you arrive at your destination, simply step out at the entrance and your car will enter park seek mode, automatically search for a spot and park itself. A tap on your phone summons it back to you.
Such puff marketing pieces, as well as the terms "Autopilot" and "Full Self-Driving Capability" that Tesla used in ads on its website, inferred autonomous driving mode is present on Tesla's vehicles, argues the Californian DMV, while at the same time a disclaimer stated the opposite, that the systems "require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous."
Tesla's dealer license in California expires on October 31, and the DMV wants it revoked or at least suspended over the "misleading" Autopilot and FSD claims, together with its special 68106 number plates. Not only that, but the motion asks that the "respondent pay restitution to the persons or institutions who have suffered financial loss or damage, according to proof."
It remains to be seen if and how Tesla will respond to the Californian DMV's claims, as Tesla's Autopilot mode is currently under investigation by the NHTSA as well, pending review of a number of accidents with first respondent vehicles where it may have potentially been active.