Tesla is expanding its external relations teams in China as it is facing public and regulatory scrutiny and a series of issues harming its publicity in the country.
According to multiple reports including Bloomberg and Reuters, Tesla has issued a post on its WeChat account recruiting managers for external relations teams in China. The Bloomberg article said Tesla is looking for job seekers to fill external affairs positions, and they will be responsible for government relations in several cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Nanjing. Also, the electric vehicle manufacturer is hiring public relations managers in Shanghai, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Xi'an and Shenyang.
The job ad did not explain the details of positions of the external relations team, but separate posts showed the managers will handle government relations.
In a previous report from Reuters, as facing tighter scrutiny in China over safety and customer service complaints, Tesla planned to enhance its engagement with regulators in China and beef up its government relations team, adding that the change of strategy leading to more interactions with policymakers in Beijing as it previously had relatively little with the government. While the brand initially received a warm welcome from Chinese consumers, in recent times, they have been unhappy with Tesla.
In April this year, a disgruntled owner protested at a Shanghai auto show that the brakes in her car didn't work and livestreamed her protest. The incident went viral on social media. According to media reports, Tesla also apologised for not addressing her concerns in a timely manner. The brand also came under regulatory scrutiny of safety and customer service issues as a number of crashes occurred.
The latest plan to appoint external relations managers was not the first wave of such appointments in China. In May, it was already reported that Tesla was hiring managers to update a policy database and maintain relationships with the government as well as industry associations to build a harmonious external environment to support Tesla's business development in the regional market. But there were no details about how many managers Tesla wanted to hire.
However, the move to build up the PR team comes in direct contrast to news reports of Tesla dissolving its internal PR team late in 2020 in the US. Meanwhile, its high profile of CEO Elon Musk is also known to be the voice of the company with his constant flow of communications through channels such as Twitter.