With the appropriate attention received, China is ready to ratchet down anti-Japanese sentiment. Beijing public security authorities on Wednesday urged the public not to stage protests against Japan, writes The Nikkei [sub]. Chinese dealers of the Volkswagen Group did not get the memo. They cause major trouble for Volkswagen. Especially in Japan.
The top picture, taken from the Weibo microblogging site by Chinageeks.org before all searches for Japan etc. were blocked, caused an uproar in Japan. What looks like employees on an Audi dealership show a banner that says “’Even if China becomes nothing but tombstones, we must exterminate the Japanese; even if we have to destroy our own country, we must take back the Diaoyu Islands.” (Jalopnik ran the picture yesterday, we provide the proper full-length translation.)
On its Japanese corporate website, Audi distanced itself quickly from the calls for genocide, and said that these were the actions of a local dealer who acted on its own. Audi published a statement from the German headquarters that says:
“We wish to categorically distance ourselves from this action. We believe that, as a company, it is not our place to comment on political matters. This is the job of politicians. However, we distance ourselves from any use of violence and advocate dialogue and diplomacy. “
Volkswagen better start distancing itself also. Japanese websites are full with pictures of Chinese Volkswagen dealers who want to cash-in on anti-Japanese sentiments in China. This Volkswagen dealer, decked out in the latest Volkswagen corporate identity, offers an 18,000 RMB ($2,850) to all who ditch their Japanese car, and buy a Volkswagen.
This Volkswagen dealer, sporting previous-gen showroom architecture, also offers support for the nationalistic cause – and hopes that it will translate into more sales.
Meddling with politics is not limited to Volkswagen group dealerships. A Chinese Ford dealer joins the fray.
Turns out that Audi’s denial of any responsibility for the extermination banner was not quick enough. On the popular Japanese picture blogging site dotup.org, two former statesmen were photoshopped into an Audi. (Along with yet another translation.)
Stay tuned. It will get ugly. And I am afraid that Audi dealer will have to wait a little longer for his allocation of hot-selling Q7 …