tesla wins lawsuit in munich over marketing terminology, news, automotive industry, cars, electric cars, motoring, safety, self-driving cars, tesla, world, driven, driven nz, cars, car, nz, new zealand

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Tesla has won the right to continue using the terms “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) in its communications materials in Germany.

The decision made by the Higher Regional Court of Munich comes following a lawsuit that claimed Tesla’s use of the words “Autopilot included” on its website was misleading customers.

tesla wins lawsuit in munich over marketing terminology, news, automotive industry, cars, electric cars, motoring, safety, self-driving cars, tesla, world, driven, driven nz, cars, car, nz, new zealand

Tesla’s Autopilot is a Level 2 drive assist system, similar to what you’d find in most new cars on the market. While the implication is that ‘Autopilot’ should mean ‘self-driving vehicle’, the driver is still responsible for driving the vehicle and should always be in control.

The company that files the lawsuit, Wettbewerbszentrale, acts as a self-regulatory institution for German car manufacturers. 

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Its main argument was the fact that Autopilot is actually a Level 2 advanced driver assistance system, meaning drivers are required to be aware and in control of the vehicle at all times.

It also claimed that Tesla’s use of the name FSD was misleading, as it too is a Level 2 system. 

A lower Munich court found in 2020 that Tesla was misleading in its marketing materials by using those terms. However, the EV automaker never removed the phrasing from its website, and later appealed the decision in 2021.

tesla wins lawsuit in munich over marketing terminology, news, automotive industry, cars, electric cars, motoring, safety, self-driving cars, tesla, world, driven, driven nz, cars, car, nz, new zealand

Reportedly, a decision was handed down in the Higher Court in Munich, which allowed Tesla to continue using the terminology in question. It reasoned that customers who are looking at the Tesla website must be actively looking into the vehicle already, and therefore must already be suitably informed that the product is not fully autonomous.

Both systems have come under fire on a global scale, with people and companies unhappy with how Tesla markets its EVs capabilities. 

Earlier this month, the California Department of Motor Vehicles accused the brand of false advertising, and in April the AAA suggested that drivers of many modern vehicles, not just Tesla, don’t understand how systems such as adaptive cruise control work. The US government also opened a formal investigation into the driver-assistance system in 2021, after a series of collisions with parked emergency vehicles.

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