The recent catastrophic flooding in Germany and other European countries has left behind thousands of destroyed homes and businesses in its wake. Even big automotive manufacturers like Porsche and Audi were not spared from its devastation, with the floods wiping out many of their dealerships. However, the challenging situation brought Audi some more unexpected grief which they could have easily avoided. Youtuber Misha Charoudin who is famous for making everyday vlogs centered around the Nürburgring received a two-week press loan of an Audi RS6. Loaning out cars to automotive journalists and influencers is a common practice for most automakers to promote their products. However, this time around, the situation has turned into a nightmare for Audi.
Well, you see, the RS6 was loaned out to Misha right before the devastating floods that destroyed many villages around the iconic Nürburgring, which also forced the race track to shut down and be used as a center for relief activities. The YouTuber also ended up losing his personal car to the natural calamity. However, he promptly decided to join in the relief work and help local flood victims, for which he had to use the loaned Audi RS6. What was supposed to be two weeks of thrashing the high-performance station wagon around the circuit turned into a muddy affair with frequent rounds of the affected areas ferrying relief material and volunteers.
The YouTuber made a standalone vlog of how the Audi RS6 performed beyond his expectations, despite being a car that’s meant for perfectly paved tarmac. To most people, this might sound like a perfect opportunity for Audi to promote the car’s capabilities along with announcing its partnership with someone who has been directly involved in the relief work. Right? But, Audi ended up shooting its own leg when a PR representative wrote an email that the manufacturer was not pleased with how the RS6 was treated and stated that using it for the relief work was “not the purpose of the test car.”
This immediately snowballed into a PR nightmare for Audi with many people on different social media platforms questioning the German automaker’s conduct during such a testing time. Audi immediately apologized saying that it was a goof-up by a single employee and does not reflect the brand’s views.
“I am happy that Audi as a company is taking the initiative to help the affected financially. I am also grateful for the fact that I was able to enjoy the car for the rental agreement period and to help out many people in need,” Charoudin told The Drive. “I asked one of my PR contacts if I could have a replacement car or if they would like to contribute in another way to this situation, but unfortunately I’ve got a totally unexpected reply which made me really sad.” What was a PR nightmare for one brand was seen as an opportunity by another. Ford Germany gave 3 Transit Vans to Misha Charoudin and fellow volunteers for a period of three months and one of its spokesperson even said, “Don’t worry what condition they come back in.”
[Via: The Drive]