"As a leading carmaker Volkswagen is revered for its radical thinking and engineering genius. Sadly for the German business, it is a little less adept when it comes to extricating itself from a PR nightmare.
With the launch of its new ‘up!’ supermini looming, the firm decided on a few special editions to boost sales of the model.
One, however, proved a little controversial. While the ‘white up!’ was always on safe ground, the ‘black up!’ was clearly heading for trouble.
UK bosses blocked the name fearing that if it was used in Britain, it could give offence to ethnic minorities – because of the connotation of white actors and singers ‘blacking up’ to perform as minstrels.
The solution they came up with however was hardly inspired. Bosses simply decided to reverse the words and call it the ‘up! black’.
Funnily enough, no one has been convinced and a PR storm that could have been averted now refuses to blow over. Matthew Collins, of campaigning organisation Hope Not Hate, branded the name ‘insensitive’. He said: ‘In this country at the moment we seem to be dealing with an explosion in racism and these are not the wisest of words to have been chosen.’