Audi have instructed that an anti Japan banner at one of their dealerships in China would be taken down.
A photograph of the sign outside the dealership went viral. The banner called for the murder of Japanese people. Clearly strong action needed to be taken.
Currently there is an ownership dispute between China and Japan over a set of island located near to the both of them. There has been a withdrawal from Japanese brands in China and vice versa. Companies have seen their premises vandalised with the violence severely escalating. Dealerships have been torched. Thousands have taken part in the protests.
Unfortunately all of that has had a severe effect on the car market. With Japanese brands being the biggest foreign brand in China, the world’s biggest car market has experienced a great deal of decline.
Audi have been quick off the mark in another respect this time, to announce that the views of stated on the banner do not reflect that of the companies. Lu Minjie, the Volkswagen Group’s spokesman stated that the banner shouldn’t affect their market in China. Audi are the best selling luxury car company in China, beating that of BMW and Mercedes. The dealership has been warned against such behaviour happening in the future.
A statement on Audi’s Chinese website said “As a company, we should not take positions in political issues. We sincerely regret such kind of behaviour happened, and feel indignant toward this behaviour.”
Lu Minjie said “For us it was important to make sure that these activities do not involve Audi employees. The dealers are independent though, but the banner was removed and we had no other similar issues since then.”
Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter saw the image spread everywhere. The picture itself showed 14 people within the picture, 7 men and 7 women. The exact meaning of the banner states “Japanese must all be killed” Many have agreed that the protests have gone too far.
The photo does not have a date on it. The 14 people within the photo are holding their fists up with banner stretching across 20 feet.
The image is sure to enrage many and cause more violence. Audi’s presence in China and Japan will hopefully not fall into the same category as the likes of Toyota.