Ferrari PR stunt defaces ancient Chinese monument
As if the nouveau riche were not unpopular enough in China, a Ferrari dealer has left tyre marks all over a Ming dynasty wall.
He performed donuts (spinning the car in as short a radius as possible) in a 458 on top of the 600-year-old city wall. The resulting skid marks from the tyres have proved to be indelible, according to a story in Automotive News.
As one would expect these days, someone filmed the stunt, and now Ferrari has issued an apology. The company said that the stunt had not been authorized by them and was solely down to the local Ferrari dealer in Nanjing, Kuaiyi Automobile.
Apparently the Chinese Blogosphere has exploded in a wave of righteous indignation. With dissent against the ruling communist party extremely dangerous, the perceived excesses of a foreign company (even though it was actually a local dealer) can provide a very handy conduit for pent-up resentments.
Ferrari is now in full damage-limitation mode. "Ferrari has always respected Chinese traditional culture and values the protection of historical and cultural relics," the company said. "Ferrari deeply regrets the incident." The irony is that the stunt was intended to complement the company's celebrations of its 20 years in China (marked by a special edition 458). Defacing a local monument is certainly an unfortunate way to celebrate your presence in a country.
Apparently the city official who allowed the stunt to go ahead has been sacked.