Ferrari damages ancient wall in China. Tire marks. Red faces.

Ferrari damages ancient wall in ill-conceived PR stunt. After the Ferrari damages ancient wall in Nanjing, Italian carmaker apologizes. Chinese unable to remove burnt rubber residue.

Mark Blinch/Reuters/File
The Ferrari 458 Italia is displayed during the press days for the North American International Auto show in Detroit, Mich., last year. To celebrate 20 years of sales in China, Ferrari made 20 special edition 458 Italias and held a promotional event in Nanjing. After a Ferrari damages an ancient wall with tire marks, the company apologizes.

What was meant to be a promotional effort for Ferrari in China has turned out to be a public relations disaster.

The stunt saw a Ferrari 458 Italia lifted by crane to the top of a 600-year old city wall in Nanjing, the former capital of China.

A dealer for the brand then proceeded to do donuts with the car on top of the wall, leaving burnt tire residue engrained in the ancient surface.

The whole stunt was televised on state television, as well as on the Internet, angering thousands of viewers. To make matters worse, authorities have been unable to remove the burnt rubber from the wall.

CNN reports that Ferrari has since apologized for the stunt and released a statement on its website saying it respected Chinese culture and was working to resolve the problems caused by its distributor Kuaiyi Automobile. Those responsible have also been reprimanded by city officials for conducting it without proper authorization, according to local reports.

On a lighter note, some Nanjing residents have pointed out that the stunt has helped bring attention to the city globally.

Ferrari is celebrating 20 years of sales in the Chinese market this year and to mark the occasion has launched a special edition 458 Italia that will be sold in the China in an exclusive run of just 20 cars. The particular car used in the stunt was one of these 20 special edition 458s

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