Chinese Buick dealership in PR disaster

Buick’s Chinese dealership has made a catastrophic online stunt when it posted a photo of a murdered baby to promote its cars on Sina Weibo.

On 4 March morning, a baby was reportedly missing after he was left in a stolen Toyota RAV4 SUV in Jilin province after his father left the running car in front of a supermarket – which he owned – to turn on a stove inside.

The case quickly became the top trending topic on Weibo in search for the child; and to get in the buzz, Buick China’s Weibo page published a post that urged drivers to choose a car with a GPS locater to avoid incidents like such. The post sandwiched the photo of the baby between two images of Buick vehicles.

“A few thoughts following the Changchun stolen car incident: When buying a car it’s completely okay to choose higher technology. Tianhe Buicks carry the OnStar GPS system, allowing the lockdown of a stolen vehicle at any time and place. An easy heart, a piece of mind, likewise why not buy a completely safe Buick!!!!! Sales Hotline: 024-86547880 86547881  QQ:521279389 2523275273”

On 5 March, the culprit handed himself to the police, claiming he strangled the baby and buried him in the snow; but the body has yet to be found, making Buick’s post in poor taste in hindsight.

By 6 March, the Buick dealership name became the second highest trending Weibo topic, and the account issued a two-lined apology in Chinese about its “inappropriate post” that gave “emotional trauma” to the victim’s family and public.

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