Audi's China PR Director Faces Corruption Probe, Chinese Media Says

Auto Maker Ends Contracts With 19 PR, Advertising and Exhibition Companies, According to Local Newspaper

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Lu Minjie, public relations director of the Audi brand in China, is under investigation by the central Chinese government's anti-corruption taskforce, according to Chinese media.

Credit: Guenter Shiffmann/Bloomberg

Mr. Lu is an employee of FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co.'s sales company, which sells locally-produced and imported Volkswagen and Audi cars in China. FAW-VW is a joint-venture owned 40% by Volkswagen Group and 60% by China FAW Group Corp. Mr. Lu is the sixth Chinese executive at FAW-VW's sales company since 2012 who has undergone a probe for corruption, reported China Business News, a Shanghai-based daily newspaper.

The executives allegedly took bribes from dealers and external service providers such as advertising and public relations companies. Earlier this month, FAW-VW terminated contracts with 19 advertising, public relations and exhibition companies, according to the newspaper. One of the public relations firms that lost a contract is Hightran Media and Advertising Co., a Beijing-based firm. The newspaper didn't identify the other 18 companies.

To curb rampant corruption at government agencies and major state-owned companies, the Chinese government has launched a series of investigations over the past year. To date, dozens of senior government officials and state-owned company executives have been arrested on corruption charges.

The FAW Group and its joint ventures is the first state-owned automaker that has been probed as part of the government's anti-corruption campaign.

-- Automotive News China --

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