Audi apologizes for sexist ad in China comparing women to used cars – USA TODAY
An Audi commercial in China seems to compare women to used cars, and it has sparked outrage from consumers.
German luxury automotive brand Audi apologized Wednesday for airing a sexist commercial in China in which a bride is inspected as if she were a used car.
The company told USA TODAY in a statement that it “deeply regrets” the ad, which it said was created by the used car division of its joint venture in China.
Automakers are legally required to form partnerships with local manufacturers to produce vehicles in China.
“The ad’s perception that has been created for many people does not correspond to the values of our company in any way,” said Audi, which is part of Volkswagen Group, the world’s largest automaker.
The commercial depicted a groom’s mother inspecting the bride’s physical appearance during a wedding ceremony. The woman aggressively pinches the bride’s nose, ears and lips before her son pulls her off the bride.
Before leaving the ceremony, the mom catches a glimpse of the bride’s breasts, which the bride then covers in embarrassment.
“An important decision must be made carefully,” a voice is then heard saying, according to an English translation, with the video cutting to footage of an Audi.
The ad sparked an outcry on Chinese social media, according to several reports.
“The annoying thing about Audi’s used-car ad, besides its objectification of women, is that it thinks Chinese customers deserve only commercials like this,” one user of Chinese social media site Weibo wrote, according to a translation published by the Washington Post.
“It assumes romantic relationships for Chinese men and women are just like this: dominated by the mother-in-law, controlled by the male and with a passive female. … Would Audi air such a discriminatory commercial in Europe or the U.S.?”
Audi said Wednesday that the ad was made only for the Chinese market and had been removed.
“The responsible department of the joint venture has arranged a thorough investigation of the internal control and coordination processes so that an incident like this can be excluded in the future,” the brand said.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.