Audi comes a cropper with Chinese mother-in-law

Audi advert likening women to used cars backfires in China

People are upset after luxury auto brand, Audi, compared women to used cars in a new ad.

The commercial, for Audi's pre-owned auto sales website, shows a bride about to get married before the groom's mother marches over to inspect her nose, ears and teeth. The older woman is shown pinching the younger woman's nose and ears and scrutinising her teeth while an exasperated groom and priest look on.

The ad compares buying a vehicle to finding a wife, saying "an important decision must be made carefully".

In addition to demands for the ad to be taken down, there have been some calls to boycott Audi cars. The final sequence of the ad includes a screen grab of used Audis for sale, with the narrator saying, "Only with official certification can you be rest assured".

Negative social media reaction in China can have an outsized effect on brands, with hundreds of millions of people using WeChat and rival platform Weibo.


AW-Volkswagen, the joint venture, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

This speed bump isn't good for Audi.Its sales fell 15 percent during the first half of this year. The ad was surprising given that Audi has made campaigns tackling gender stereotypes a centerpiece in markets from Spain to the U.S. One social commenter contrasted the Chinese spot to Audi's messaging during the Super Bowl, about equal pay for women.

"I think people are being dramatic", said Beijing resident Marla Yuan.

Lotus may become the latest western marque to shift some production to China, Bloomberg reports, after China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group announced plans to purchase stakes in Malaysian.

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