A very strange story out of China today, as Hyundai and a Chinese Buick dealer were forced to face allegations of using allusions to an infamous child murder on a social media site as a way of promoting the safety features of their respective vehicles.

The original sad tale goes something like this: On March 4, a man reported to police that he had left his infant child in a running Toyota RAV4 while he ran into a supermarket briefly. When he came back out, the vehicle and the child were gone. Later in the week a suspect turned himself in to the police; confessing to them that he had stolen a sport-utility vehicle, strangled the infant that was in it, and then buried the child in the snow.

As you might imagine, the grisly incident was covered massively in the Chinese media. (There was huge public outcry as well, as evidenced by the vigil scene, above.) "Changchun baby abduction" was very quickly amongst the highest ranking search teams of the China's Weibo social media site – an equivalent of Twitter in the English-speaking world.

With the scary news trending near its peak, a post on Hyundai's Weibo account touted the safety features of the company's Santa Fe, while also making reference to the child being abducted. In a similar vein, a Chinese Buick dealer posted this on March 5:

"When buying a car it's completely okay to choose brands with better technology. Tianhe Buicks carry the OnStar GPS system, which can track down the location of a stolen vehicle at any time and automatically report it to the police. Feel at ease, have peace of mind, if you're going to buy a car, why not choose a completely safe Buick!!!"

For its part Hyundai claimed that its Weibo post was made by a non-Hyundai employee, and that it would redouble its efforts at "managing our social networking service accounts." The independently owned Buick dealer apologized for making "inappropriate" remarks. Meanwhile a Shanghai-based representative of General Motors said that the company is "monitoring" the situation, and has yet to release a statement.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      Bill
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seems their priorities are a little screwy there. They should focus on leaving a car unattened, unlocked, and running with a baby in it.
      houseiowapark
      • 2 Years Ago
      If someone is going to leave a baby alone in a running vehicle, they may want a vehicle with OnStar so they can find the vehicle and, hopefully, the baby alive and well. Better yet, mom and dad or whoevever can pull their head out and not leave babies unattended. That was what was so cruel in this story., not the car brand.
        Equay_30
        • 2 Years Ago
        @houseiowapark
        Do they have OnStar in China?
          Leonard
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Equay_30
          yes, it is run from satalite around the world. So if your car is stolen here they can find it in China if that is where they take it.
      John Hansen
      • 2 Years Ago
      Was somebody actually offended by this? I can just barely even see the link between the murder and the ad. If this ad had been released at any other time it wouldn't have been at all unusual. It isn't like the ad said "If your kid is in a Buick then he won't get murdered." I'm not trying to be insensitive, but this is a real stretch.
        Turbotommes
        • 2 Years Ago
        @John Hansen
        As the ad featured a picture of the child (http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/China-Buick-PR-Disaster-030513.aspx), this is not really a stretch.
          clnlsandrs
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Turbotommes
          To quote HRC, "really at this point, what ------difference-------does------it--------make?!"
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      I take it the Chinese were outraged because the baby was male? ;)
        Jjjhhld
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ducman69
        I take it the Americans were outraged when school shooting killed all the gay kids
          Marcus Spencer
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Jjjhhld
          That was an awful response. Of all the witty things you could have come up with...you chose THAT?
      Steve Mello
      • 2 Years Ago
      Right now GM is quietly crapping its pants, China being the one market they have been raking in the cash in, and Buick being as revered as it is there. Just look at how the Japanese marques suffered over the rowe about the dispute on the islands to get an idea how well the Chinese organize when they feel slighted.
      paddleman1928
      • 2 Years Ago
      I read the buick ad and it does not mention either kidnapping or an infant. They simply imply that ,if stolen, you have a good chance of getting your vehicle back very quickly. The chinese are getting as thin skinned as americans.
      sylvabugg2
      • 2 Years Ago
      I find it a tad hypocritical that they would be horrified by the death of one child when it is still routine in some rural parts of China to leave newborn girls in the fields to die.
        mathomps
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sylvabugg2
        It is not "routine", although it does sometimes rarely still happen.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Norville
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mmmm ... gristly.
        James
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Norville
        Yeah, I'm not usually one to point these things out, but it's "grisly". No "t". Honest mistake. Better than "grizzly".
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        superchan7
        • 2 Years Ago
        News Flash: Hu Jintao is no longer the chairman.
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
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