"Oops, our bad." That pretty much sums up Ferrari's response to Chinese officials last Tuesday, after the Italian luxury carmaker damaged a 600-year old wall in Nanjing, erected in the Ming Dynasty as party of the city's extensive fortifications. During a pointless demonstration involving a special edition Ferrari 458 Italia, worth some six million yuan ($950,000), the stunt driver, ostensibly drunk on adrenaline and fumes, got carried away, spinning donuts over the ancient wall and leaving behind a trail of tire marks over the protected landmark.
Footage of the demo, part of the celebrations commemorating Ferrari's 20th year in Chinese markets, shows a crane raising the sports car on the wall rampart, where the driver proceeds to spin several times in circles and staining the stone floor with black skid marks in the process. The video cuts to the next morning, when workers try in vain to sweep and scrub the residue off the surface. As the BBC notes, the incident has prompted a windfall of negative comments on Chinese microblogs, with much of the blame placed on city officials, whom, it's been suggested, charged Ferrari $12,000 for temporary use of the wall. Local authorities responded by saying that the car company had lacked their approval in the matter, while Ferrari, in turn, faulted a single employee of a local dealership, the event's co-sponsor, stressing that the latter was nor had never been employed by the company. Though the damages seem reparable, the BBC says "Ferrari" had been recently blocked on Chinese microblogs, perhaps to curtail any criticism of government officials.