The ad showed a large white hand appearing to push a dark-skinned man around a parked VW Golf before pushing him into a door.
A VW spokesperson told CNBC by e-mail, “We are moving away from the video and we sincerely apologize. We will investigate how it happened – and draw the necessary consequences. “
Bernd Osterloh, a representative of VW workers and a member of the supervisory board, said on LinkedIn that he was “ashamed”.
“The racist clip from #Golf… surprises us. I’m ashamed of this place – and I’m sure I speak on behalf of all the staff. The clip is disgusting, “he published Wednesday in German according to the translation via LinkedIn. .
The clip, which was released and deleted from VW’s German account, was part of an Instagram Stories series that featured an interracial couple in love, according to a Financial Times report.
In a statement titled “Apologies for a racist video ad” posted on Twitter Wednesday, Jurgen Stackmann, board member of the VW brand and Elke Heitmuller, head of group diversity, said: “We understand the outrage from the public about it, because we’re also horrified. “
“It is an insult to any decent person. We are ashamed of it and cannot explain how it happened. We especially apologize to those who feel personally hurt by the racist content, “they said, according to a Reuters translation.
The hand was filmed near the camera, creating the illusion that it controlled the figure further, a common technique used in social media videos. The announcement was made by a creative agency, according to the Financial Times.
Stackmann and Heitmuller also discussed VW’s history of forced labor under the Nazi regime.
“At Volkswagen, we are aware of the historical origins and the guilt of our company under the Nazi regime. This is precisely why we resolutely oppose all forms of hatred, slander / propaganda and discrimination, “said their statement.
Osterloh said the incident should be investigated. “The works council demands a full clarification of the responsibilities behind the history of Insta. It is also important to us that our people experience diversity and are committed to fighting racism in so many forms, “he wrote on LinkedIn.