An Audi TV ad for the A3 e-tron mocks the Toyota Prius, the world's best-selling gas-electric hybrid; people who grow their own food and use solar panels on their homes, and anyone who enjoys peace and quiet over the sound of screeching tires.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
Speeding, screeching tires and a lurid slide are a contradiction in a plug-in hybrid car that is supposed to save gas and be easy on the environment.
But that's the theme of a new TV ad for the Audi A3 e-tron, the first plug-in hybrid from the luxury performance subsidiary of Volkswagen, the giant German automaker.
Especially puzzling is how the commercial ends:
"Plug in and take names."
The owner had just thrown the speeding red hybrid into a slide so he could back into his driveway -- the only way Audi's irresponsible advertising agency could show him plugging in the car (the socket is in the grille).
The man then looks at one of his shocked neighbors and nods his head as if to say, Take that.
Given Audi's dark past and the growing scandal over Volkswagen and Audi turbo-diesel engines that pollute far more than allowed, the "take names" admonition sounds ominous.
Just last year, Audi tried to come to terms with its dark dealings with the Nazis during World War II.
A report commissioned by the company found that its predecessor Auto Union is morally responsible for the deaths of 4,500 slaves who were forced to work in its factories.
And last week, the Obama administration ordered parent company Volkswagen to recall nearly 500,000 VWs and Audis with illegal diesel engines that allow the cars to pollute far more than allowed by the Clean Air Act.
On Tuesday, Volkswagen admitted 11 million diesel cars worldwide were equipped with software designed to cheat on emissions tests, and today, the company CEO resigned.
You might recall that Audi's aerodynamic 5000 sedan also was embroiled in a mid-1980s controversy over sudden unintended acceleration that depressed sales for many years.
For another $30,000, you can get the environmentally friendly Tesla Model S, which combines blinding speed with zero emissions.
Five U.S. diesel models are affected by the recall, according to the Los Angeles Times:
Jetta (2009-15), Beetle (2009-15), Audi A3 (2009-15), Golf (2009-15) and Passat (2012-15).