The BMW Mini booth at the Shanghai auto show – since China’s reopening in December – had a cool freebie for attendees: a small tub of ice cream from a local brand.
But the free snack turned into a headache for the German carmaker after a video of the show was posted in China on YouTube-like platform Bilibili. The recording shows staff manning the booth telling a local visitor that all the ice cream had been given away. When a foreign attendee arrived, the staff suddenly had ice cream in their hands.
Event, which is a state-run media outlet Global Times The information, which happened on Wednesday evening, went viral on Chinese social media, with a hashtag “BMW Mini booth accused of discrimination” being viewed nearly 200 million times on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform. financial Times,
BMW Mini apologized on Thursday, saying “negligence in internal management” and “failure of duty of our employees” caused the “displeasure” in a post on the company’s Weibo account. financial Times, The company later stated that the Mini “condemns racism and intolerance in any form.”
company spokesperson told Luck that the booth had stopped selling cheap ice cream due to low stock, and that the foreign attendee who had gotten one of the last remaining tubs was an acquaintance of one of the hostesses. The company again apologized
Shares of the German carmaker fell 3.6% on Thursday. Shares in Berlin were largely flat as of 11:30 a.m. Friday.
While other automakers such as Tesla have had to deal with public outcry, BMW may be particularly susceptible to the backlash. Chinese consumers associate the brand with materialistic and stuck-up drivers, noted what’s on weibo, A publication that tracks and analyzes social media trends in China. According to the outlet, hit-and-runs involving BMW cars have also gone viral on Chinese social media.
The growing sophistication of Chinese brands and low investment in electric vehicles have made China a difficult market for foreign automakers. Market share held by foreign legacy vehicle manufacturers fell to 41% in the last quarter of 2022, down from 61% in 2020.
The dominance of local brands is even greater in the electric vehicle market, where they have created 80% electric cars sold last year. Legacy automakers, especially the Japanese, have been slow to release new EV models, with major Chinese brands as well as Tesla capturing market share.
BYD’s affordable electric cars dominate the market among cost-conscious Chinese consumers, helping the company to beat Tesla as the largest maker of electric cars (although BYD’s sales outpace hybrid and purely electric vehicles). both included)
Chinese automakers convinced now Thanks to electric cars, the country will overtake Japan this year as the world’s biggest car exporter.
Yet the Chinese car market is currently in a slump with the car sales are falling According to the China Passenger Car Association, 13.4% in the first quarter. While NEV sales surged, Tesla and the Chinese carmaker are currently locked down price war. (Tesla is engaged in a similar price war in the US, with CEO Elon Musk suggesting he will continue To sacrifice margin in exchange for sales.)
In Shanghai, foreign carmakers took the opportunity to Advertised Their new electric vehicle models are catching up to the rest of the market. This includes the BMW Mini, which is beginning Mini Cooper SE Convertible. The carmaker claims that this model is the world’s first “locally emission-free premium convertible in the small car segment”.