And now the case is heading to court.
Tesla's Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system is great when it's used properly. Unfortunately, some owners believe it's capable of full self-driving or something close to that. There have been several accidents, a few deadly, involving the Tesla Model 3, Model S, and Model X because drivers put their trust in the system when they should have been keeping their hands on or close to the steering wheel. They also should have been paying attention to the road in front of them. Needless to say, some find the name "Autopilot" misleading.
According to German publication Automobilwoche, the Munich Association, an organization that fights against unfair competition, is taking Tesla to court in Munich this week claiming the EV automaker wrongly gives the impression its vehicles can drive completely autonomously on German roads. In other words, false advertising.
Tesla advertises Autopilot as being capable of "automatic steering, acceleration and braking" and even allows for the "full potential for autonomous steering." But at the same time, Tesla states these functions still require "active driver monitoring." The Munich Association believes Tesla's advertising leads to false ideas and wants the company banned from continuing to promote the system as "Autopilot."
"This is a serious disadvantage for vehicle manufacturers who comply with advertising regulations," said lawyer and CEO Andreas Ottofulling.
This isn't the first time the Munich Association has taken Tesla to court. Back in early 2019, it successfully argued Tesla could no longer advertise the Model 3 with prices "according to estimated savings" because it misled potential stakeholders and even violated information regulation.
In 2017, Tesla agreed not to promote the Model S in Germany with standard equipment for just over 69,000 euros because none were even available for that price in the first place.
Although the association's cases, both past and present, are justified in holding Tesla's advertising accountable, the fact remains that its members include about 800 trade associations and 1,200 companies, including Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW - all Tesla rivals.