Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), facing scrutiny in China over safety and customer service complaints, is boosting its engagement with mainland regulators and beefing up its government relations team, industry sources said.
As they do elsewhere, regulators in China, the world's biggest auto market, discuss industry policies and standards with global and local companies, industry associations and think tanks.
Manufacturers typically join such meetings in China, but unlike rivals including Toyota Motor (7203.T) and General Motors Co (GM.N), Tesla officials were largely absent from the closed-door gatherings, according to four people familiar with the matter.
Instead, Tesla officials regularly speak at high-profile industry conferences.
Tesla is also expanding its government relationship team in China, one of the sources said.
According to two recruitment advertisements in April on its WeChat account, Tesla is hiring managers to update a policy database and maintain relationships with government and industry associations to "build a harmonious external environment to support Tesla's business development in the regional market.".
Last month, Tesla was targeted by state media and regulators after a customer, angry over the handling of her complaint about malfunctioning brakes, climbed on top of a Tesla car in protest at the Shanghai auto show.
Grace Tao, a Tesla vice president who heads its government relations effort in China, was criticised in state media last month after she was quoted in a media interview questioning whether the aggrieved customer was acting on her own.
In response to the different complaints, Tesla has said it would set up a China data center, launch self-inspection to improve services and work with regulators.