German Court Says Tesla's 'Autopilot,' 'Full Self Driving' Ads Misleading

Benzinga EV Insights
July 14, 2020

Back in October of 2019, a German consumer protection agency, Wettbewerbszentrale, filed an injunction against Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) accusing the automaker of misleading naming in its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving software.

What Happened: Electrek reports Tuesday that Wettbewerbszentrale has judged the software names as being misleading.

Tesla stock did not seem to respond negatively to the news and was trading 0.86% higher at $1,510 at the time of publication. 

The decision prevents Tesla from including "full potential for autonomous driving" and "autopilot inclusive" in German advertising, according to Reuters. Tesla can appeal the decision. 

The court said buyers could have the impression the car can drive without human intervention or that such an arrangement is legal in Germany, the newswire said. 

Autopilot comes standard on all Tesla vehicles and allows lane keep assist and traffic-aware cruise control that many see as the industry's best. Full Self-Driving enables more advanced features, such as self-parking and Tesla's Smart Summon, which will allow the car to return to the driver almost anywhere in a parking lot.

Tesla recently increased the purchase price of its Full Self-Driving software after releasing new abilities that allow the cars to interact with traffic lights and stop signs

Benzinga's Take: While the name Full Self-Driving can hard to defend, Autopilot has never seemed like a problem.

After all, people are paying tens of thousands of dollars for these cars, and then adding another $8,000 to the purchase price for the privilege of using the Full Self-Driving software.

Most people probably don't make that big of a purchase without knowing what they're buying. On top of that, the car gives numerous warnings before enabling the feature and also warns every time it's turned on that the driver is fully responsible.

While people may be disappointed when they learn the car is not fully autonomous, changing the name will not most likely not change a person's behavior once they start driving.

Photo courtesy of Tesla.