German carmaker Audi has apologised for an advert showing a little girl eating a banana in front of a high-performance car, after it drew a torrent of criticism on social media.
“We hear you and let’s get this straight: We care for children,” Audi tweeted in its apology.
“We sincerely apologize for this insensitive image and ensure that it will not be used in future.”
Critics said the child’s pose was “provocative” and life-threatening.
Some pointed out that the driver would not be able to see the child in that pose, leaning on the grille.
Others said the image was sexually suggestive, as bananas and sports cars have often been seen as symbols of male lust.
Audi’s slogan in English above the image reads: “Lets your heart beat faster – in every aspect.”
The firm says it is now investigating how the ad came to be published.