Beware of making generalisations based on unverified social media posts

ITALIAN cars are rust buckets . . . ‘Gwailo’ cars are expensive to repair and maintain . . .  Spare parts for China made cars are difficult to source and super expensive etc, etc. True or not, these are but some of the common generalisations that are often heard among Malaysian motorists.

The Malaysian automobile market is notoriously conservative with highways and byways dominated by a select few marques.

Anything not from a national carmaker or from the Japanese big three of Honda/Toyota/ Nissan is viewed with a degree of suspicion, ultimately affecting many less popular (or new) marques’ attempts at penetrating the market.

Tesla, though, seemed to be on the verge of buking this trend with great excitement greeting the electric vehicles (EVs) giant’s introduction onto these shores.

Everyone knows how Tesla has become the automotive industry’s biggest disruptor and its vehicles have become a status symbol for motorists keen to bump their environmentally-friendly credentials.

However, a video that was uploaded on Puchong News Group Facebook site might just scupper Tesla’s efforts at capturing Malaysian buyers’ hearts and minds. In it, a Tesla Model Y is shown engulfed in flames yesterday (Oct 17) before the fire department was able to bring it under control.

From the videos posted thus far, it seems that there was no fire coming directly from the underside of the Tesla which is the location of its high-voltage battery. Hence, it is unclear whether it has anything to do with the fire.

But this won’t stop some netizens from coming to the conclusion that EVs – and Tesla in particular – are fire hazards.

Pic credit: Paul Tan’s Automotive News

The fire department has yet to release any further details about the fire, so netizens are advised to refrain from making snap judgements.

Such knee jerk reactions may just see the car maker lumped with an unwarranted label causing it lose consumer confidence. For one of the region’s biggest automotive markets, a number of models never officially make it to Malaysian roads simply because of negative consumer perception. Jeep or Alfa Romeo, anybody?

So, let’s celebrate automotive diversity by NOT making snap judgement based on short video clips posted on social media. – Oct 17, 2023

Main pic credit: Astro Awani

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