Business News

CCTV Script 01/07/16

– This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on July 1, Friday.

Welcome to CNBC Business Daily, I'm Qian Chen.

U.S. auto safety regulators said Thursday they have opened a preliminary investigation into 25,000 Tesla Motors Model S cars after a fatal crash involving its "Autopilot" feature.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the crash came in a 2015 Model S operating with automated driving engaged, and "calls for an examination of the design and performance of any driving aids in use at the time of the crash." It is the first step before the agency could seek to order a recall if it believed the vehicles were unsafe.

Tesla said Thursday the death was "the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated," while a fatality happens once every 60 million miles worldwide. The electric automaker said it "informed NHTSA about the incident immediately after it occurred."

The May crash occurred when a tractor trailer drove across a divided highway, where a Tesla in autopilot mode was driving. The Model S passed under the tractor trailer, and the bottom of the trailer hit the Tesla vehicle's windshield.

"Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied," Tesla wrote.

"It is important to emphasize that the NHTSA action is simply a preliminary evaluation to determine whether the system worked according to expectations," Tesla said in a blog post.

Tesla noted that customers need to acknowledge that autopilot "is new technology and still in a public beta phase" before they can turn it on. Drivers also acknowledge that "you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle."

Tesla shares fell about 3 percent in after-hours trading.

Having tied its identity to both the electrification of the auto industry and its self-driving future, Tesla is a ripe target for critics and politicians who take issue with tax breaks for electric vehicles.

Tesla has made a habit during its short history of pushing the boundaries of what both consumers and regulators will accept in terms of new technology, and the autopilot feature was distributed to owners of newer Model S sedans last year as a software download-a practice nearly unheard of in the car business.

In the statement, Tesla emphasized the steps it has taken to collaborate with NHTSA on its efforts to investigate factors surrounding the crash and that it was the first fatality in more than 130 million miles in which autopilot was activated.

CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.

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