China Halts Customs Clearance for Tesla Model 3 Because of 'Printer Problems' (Update: Fixed)

Illustration for article titled China Halts Customs Clearance for Tesla Model 3 Because of 'Printer Problems' (Update: Fixed)
Photo: AP

Tesla Model 3 sales in China have been temporarily halted and 1,600 vehicles are being held at Shanghai customs due to incorrect product labels, according to Chinese media outlet Caixin. This setback comes at an especially rough time—Tesla is trying to get as many new vehicles in the world’s largest electric vehicle market before any Trump tariffs kick in and the company’s factory in Shanghai is completed. [Update: it’s been fixed.]


The exact problem with the Model 3s is not clear, but Caixin reports “some of the vehicles had no Chinese labels on brake fluid tanks, while some demonstrated a real motor capacity that differed from the one on the label.”

Caixin says Tesla is blaming wrong printer settings and human error for the problem. Blaming printers is always a solid route to buy some time even if it is a little too Office Space-y for 2019.

From that story:

Tesla pointed the blame at “incorrect settings on its printers” and “workers’ poor operation.” The company is now working with the Chinese government to look for solutions.

Printers are baffling, it’s true.

The Model 3s aren’t the only Teslas affected. The customs authority will also be stepping up inspections of other Tesla models to check for similar irregularities, the outlet reports.


Back in November, Elon Musk tweeted that “some” Model 3 deliveries will happen this month, “but April is more certain.” So with time winding down on that goal, aspiring Model 3 owners in China may have to wait longer than expected for their cars.


Tesla did not respond to a request for comment before publication. We’ll update the post if we hear anything.

Update (2:36 PM): A Tesla spokesperson emailed: “This error resulted from misprinted labels on certain Model 3 vehicles. We have already reached a resolution with Chinese customs, and we are working closely with them to resume clearance procedures on these vehicles. Sales of Model 3 in the country are not impacted, and we continue to deliver Model 3 vehicles that have already been processed.”

Former Senior Reporter, Investigations & Technology, Jalopnik



“PC LOAD LETTER?” What the fuck does that mean?