UPDATED 6/11, 10:15 a.m. ET: Members of the Volkswagen management board have issued a new statement addressing the company's racist Instagram ad.
"We can state that racist intentions did not play any role whatsoever," Volkswagen's management board member for integrity and legal affairs, Hiltrud Werner, said on Thursday. "We found a lack of sensitivity and procedural errors. Also on behalf of the Board of Management, I would like to formally apologize for hurting people as a result of a lack of intercultural sensitivity."
Per Reuters, the brand's marketing team says it's been "rightly accused of a lack of intercultural sensitivity" and will respond by consulting a Diversity Board and instituting new training.
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The promotion has since been taken down. In the clip, which was advertising the new Golf 8, an oversized white hand pushes a black man away from the parked car, then flicks him into a restaurant called Petit Colon, which as CNN points out, is French for Little Colonist or Little Settler.
“We posted a racist advertising video on Volkswagen's Instagram channel,” VW’s head of sales and marketing Jürgen Stackmann and group head of diversity Elke Heitmüller wrote in a statement. “We understand the public outrage at this. Because we're horrified, too.”
The statement goes on to apologize to the "public at large" for the film. "And we apologize in particular to those who feel personally hurt by the racist content because of their own history," it continues.
Stackmann and Heitmüller said the video is an “insult to every decent person.” They added, “We're ashamed of it and cannot explain how it came about. All the more reason for us to make sure we clear this up. And we will make the results and consequences of the investigation public.”
Volkswagen also issued its own apology, saying that because of the company’s history, “it does not tolerate any form of racism, xenophobia or discrimination.”
Volkswagen was established in 1937 during the Nazi regime, building its cars with slave labor from concentration camps. CNN Business reports that the car company is currently the largest automaker worldwide. In 2019, it distributed 11 million vehicles.