Mercedes-Benz in China apologized Tuesday for its parent company quoting the Dalai Lama in an "extremely wrong message" via an Instagram social media post.
"We are fully aware that the post deeply hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, including our Chinese colleagues and we would like to extend the sincerest apology," the company said in a statement released via its Sina Weibo social media account on Tuesday.
The Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Company said it will deepen understanding of Chinese culture and values among its staff, including overseas staff.
The apology came after a post on Mercedes-Benz's Instagram account showed a luxury vehicle and quoted the Dalai Lama saying "Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open."
China considers Tibet a core interest of the country and sees the Dalai Lama as a separatist.
The post, liked more than 89,714 times before being deleted, irritated some Chinese who wrote online that Mercedes-Benz should be blocked from the Chinese market.
"Some foreign companies are not as sensitive as their Chinese clients over the issue of the Dalai Lama and they should be warned once such an incident occurs," Sina Weibo user Wenxin7707 posted. "It's also for their own interest in China."