Ferrari apologizes for damaging an ancient city wall in Nanjing during publicity stunt
Car maker Ferrari has apologized after one of its cars drove on top of an ancient Chinese monument in Nanjing as a publicity stunt.
Ferrari suggested the incident was the fault of a single reckless employee.
The car was filmed wheel-spinning on top of a 600-year-old Ming-dynasty era wall in the city of Nanjing.
Footage of the screeching vehicle has infuriated China’s online community. It has hit a nerve in a society where such cars are a symbol of privilege.
One web user called it a “rude insult” to Chinese tradition and culture.
The stunt, in the run-up to a Ferrari show, left tire marks on the wall.
But most public anger has been directed at city officials after reports emerged suggesting they had agreed to rent the use of the wall to the Ferrari dealership for about $12,000.
City officials have retorted that the car company did not have approval.
“No enterprise or individual is allowed to use the city ramparts in Nanjing for commercial purposes,” Nanjing Cultural Relics Bureau Captain Wu Jing said.
Other than the tire marks, physical damage to the monument does not appear to be substantial.
As a publicity stunt, the incident could not have gone more wrong.
The night-time spin, shortly after the car had been hoisted on to the wall, reportedly led to the cancellation of the event itself, a celebration of 20 years since Ferrari entered the Chinese car market.
The word Ferrari has now been blocked on Chinese microblogs, perhaps as part of an effort to contain criticism of the actions of government officials.