Daimler, a multinational automotive corporation and the Mercedes-Benz parent, is facing a public relations crisis in China after a senior executive was alleged to have used derogatory language against the Chinese people during an argument over a car parking space in Beijing.
The company expressed their regret over the event on Monday.
According to a report by People’s Daily, Rainer Gaertner, head of Daimler’s local trucks and buses unit, made insulting comments about Chinese people and used pepper spray during the bickering that ensued later. The source of the information was not mentioned in the report.
While the incident is being investigated by authorities the, company is co-operating fully with them, the report added.
Daimler Greater China said in a statement,
We deeply regret this personal argument. The content of this argument does not represent at all the views of the company.
Though the statement by Daimler did not provide any details of the incident, according to Global Times, the executive said,
I am in China one year already. The first thing I learned here is that all you Chinese are bastards.
According to the reports, the spat of words started at an upscale northeastern suburb of Shunyi when the executive was trying to park his black Mercedes into a parking spot and a Chinese driver was backing into the same space.
The news got viral in no time and was seen on many online media portals. Not only that, it appeared in the top 10 discussed topics on popular microblog Sina Weibo on Monday morning. Many users posted comments saying they would avoid buying Daimler cars in the future — Well, definitely not how a company would envision its week beginning.
The reason behind such an ill-timed and irresponsible outburst from someone who holds the post of a senior executive of a reputed company like Daimler is unknown. Meanwhile, Daimler is probably going to run an internal investigation as well. China is an important market and no company in their right minds would want to lose it over an executive’s rant.