A North Carolina Volkswagen dealership publicly apologized after oil change reminder stickers placed on 11 customers' vehicles included a racial slur.
The store, Leith Volkswagen of Raleigh, said it found that the message was added by a teenager who entered the business after hours with a third-party cleaning crew and tampered with the sticker-printing machine.
The dealership, in a statement to Automotive News, said it fired the cleaning company and that officials personally contacted the 11 customers within 48 hours to apologize.
"We have taken internal steps to ensure this cannot happen again," the store said. "We are deeply sorry that this incident occurred."
Leith Volkswagen employees didn't notice the wording on the stickers had been changed when they placed them in the corner of customers' windshields after service appointments. The stickers read "We Thank You for Your Business!" followed by the racial slur.
The dealership posted an apology on Facebook.
"Leith Volkswagen deeply regrets and apologizes for a racially insensitive message that was printed on a service reminder card for customers that picked up their vehicles on Saturday, February 25th," the post said.
One customer who received an offensive sticker on his 2017 Passat said the incident makes him hesitant to go back to the dealership in the future.
"I think somebody should have looked into this and seen it before it happened — seen it before any customer got treated in this manner that day," Conrad Alston, who has bought two VWs from the store, told TV station WRAL in Raleigh.