The Chinese government announced on Friday that Tesla would recall practically all of the cars it has sold in the country to adjust their assisted-driving systems, less than a month after a similar recall in the United States.
To address the problems, Tesla will transmit updated computer software to its 1.6 million cars in China, the State Administration for Market Regulation said.
The updated software involves “adding additional automatic assisted steering control,” the regulator said. It also said that Tesla would remind customers to pay attention to their driving and follow all regulations even if they use the so-called Autopilot capabilities.
Three weeks ago the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington ordered a recall to make sure that drivers will remain attentive while using Autopilot.
While Tesla’s autopilot system is designed for highway use, American regulators have been increasingly concerned that many drivers are using it on local roads, and are failing to keep their hands on the steering wheel.
China’s regulator has in the past insisted that companies conduct the same recalls in China that they announce in other markets.
Tesla did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
The recall marks a setback for Tesla as China has emerged as the world’s largest and fastest-growing market for electric cars. More than a third of the cars sold last year in China were either battery-powered electric cars or plug-in hybrid gasoline-electric cars, up from only 5 percent three years earlier.
Tesla has shown itself as the only Western automaker that can compete with Chinese manufacturers in the global electric car sector.
Chinese electric car companies are rapidly increasing their share of the European market, prompting the European Union to begin investigating alleged Chinese government subsidies. General Motors and Ford in the United States have retrenched their ambitions in electric cars. And in China, longtime multinational leaders like Volkswagen have lost many of their customers to Chinese companies like BYD, Zhejiang Geely, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, Nio and Xiaopeng.
The mandatory software update ordered on Friday covers Model 3 and Model Y cars manufactured at Tesla’s vast factory in Shanghai as well as imported Model S, Model X and Model 3 cars.
The Chinese regulator separately announced on Friday that Tesla would transmit updated computer software to 7,538 imported Model S and Model X electric cars to fix a programming difficulty that could cause door latches to unlock on the far side of the car from a collision.
For the door latch problem as well as the assisted-driving function, Tesla will offer free assistance to update the programming for any customers who find that their remote downloads are not working properly.
Joy Dong contributed research.