The car giant Volkswagen has apologised for a ‘tasteless’ advert that appeared on social media following an online backlash that slammed its ‘racist’ undertones.
The ten-second advert posted on Instagram and Twitter shows a giant white hand pushing a black man away from a new, yellow Volkswagen Golf parked on the street.
The hand then flicks him to an open doorway and pushes him inside a French cafe.
Social media users noted that as slogan ‘Der Neue Golf’ – ‘The New Golf’ – fades into view, the jumbled letters appear to spell out the N-word in German.
Other eagle-eyed users spotted that the cafe’s name is Petit Colon, which in French literally translates as the ‘Little Colonist.’
Volkswagen apologised for the video and said ‘we can understand the outrage and anger.’
‘Without question: the video is inappropriate and tasteless’, adding that ‘we will clarify how something like this could happen, and there will be consequences.’
The Wolfsburg-based automaker was founded under the Nazis to produce ‘the people’s car’.
It said that given its history it has always sought to ‘position itself against all forms of racism, xenophobia and discrimination.’
‘Many initiatives in the company and in our global workforce promote diversity, integration and unprejudiced cooperation,’ Volkswagen said.
‘That makes it all the more annoying that we made this mistake.’