Senior Daimler executive removed from post after racist tirade against Chinese people in Beijing parking row
German expat Rainer Gaertner also allegedly pulled out pepper spray to disperse onlookers during quarrel over parking space
German carmaker Daimler has removed a senior executive after he reportedly yelled racist remarks about Chinese people in a parking row in Beijing.
According to mainland media reports, Rainer Gaertner, head of Daimler Trucks and Buses China, shouted at a Chinese driver in a villa compound on the outskirts of the capital on Sunday, saying: “I am in China one year already. The first thing I learned here is that all you Chinese are bastards!”
The incident was first posted on microblogging site Weibo on Sunday and soon picked up by mainstream media.
Without naming the employee, Daimler said on Monday that it had “relieved the manager of his position” and “sincerely apologises for the concerns raised by this matter”.
“The nature of the dispute and in particular the manner in which it was conducted, irrespective of any comments alleged to have been made, is adjudged to be not only of concern to the public but viewed by us as detrimental to the standing of our company, unbecoming of a manager of our brand and prejudicial to our good name,” Daimler Greater China said in a statement.
According to media reports, the argument broke out on Sunday after Gaertner drove his black Mercedes into a parking spot as the Chinese driver was reversing into it at a residential compound in northeastern Beijing.
Gaertner also allegedly pulled out pepper spray to disperse onlookers who gathered to intervene after hearing the insulting comments, according to an online post that initially brought the incident to light.
“This kind of foreigner is making money from Chinese people on one hand while insulting them at the same time. They hate China from the bottom of their hearts,” the post read.
Police officers were called to the scene and both drivers were taken to the district’s police station for questioning, the post said.
After the incident, the Weibo account of Mercedes-Benz, which is owned by Daimler, was flooded by thousands of angry comments, with many users threatening to boycott the German luxury brand.
“I was originally thinking about buying a Mercedes-Benz S-Class and was also planning to buy my wife a Mercedes-Benz GLC, but this incident about the senior executive has made me deeply disappointed towards the brand,” one user said.
Another wrote: “Mercedes-Benz get out of China.”
Daimler’s statement said the dispute was eventually resolved “amicably” and the authorities had closed their investigation.
Details of the agreement settling the matter remained private and confidential between the participants, it said.
“Such an incident reflects in no way the values of Daimler AG and we sincerely apologise for the concerns raised by this matter and the views that people have felt obliged to express following the reports of this regrettable matter”, the statement said.
Additional reporting by Reuters