Musk Quibbles With German Court Over Adverse Autopilot Ruling

Tesla Inc.’s promotion of Autopilot was rebuffed by a German court, which said the carmaker has misled consumers about its its driver-assistance system.

The Munich Regional Court on Tuesday ruled Tesla can no longer advertise vehicles the way it has in Germany and faulted the carmaker for improperly claiming they have “full potential for autonomous driving.” The judges also said the company wrongly promoted its cars as being able to self-navigate in cities by the end of 2019.

“Using the term ‘Autopilot’ and other phrases suggest the cars were technically able to drive completely autonomously,” the court said in an emailed statement. “Additionally, it is claimed that would be legal in Germany, which isn’t the case.”

The carmaker can appeal the ruling. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk quibbled with the determination Tuesday on Twitter, writing that Autopilot was named after a term used in aviation to refer to systems that aid but don’t replace pilots.

Musk, 49, has long offered optimistic views on the capabilities of his cars, even going so far as to start charging customers thousands of dollars for a “Full Self Driving” feature in 2016. Years later, the company still requires users of its Autopilot system to be fully attentive and ready to take over driving at any time.

The suit was brought by the Center for Protection Against Unfair Competition, a German non-profit financed by companies and industry groups. It argued that Tesla is promising customers more than its Autopilot system actually delivers.

The case is: LG Muenchen, 33 O 14041/19.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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