“During Scania’s capital markets day on 6 December I made some comments about Germany that have been interpreted in a way that was not intended.
“These statements were never meant to be perceived as offensive, but if that is the case, I deeply regret it and apologise,” said Östling.
On Tuesday Östling said that while Germans were very good at blitzkrieg, they usually went on to lose the war.
Should MAN eventually take over Scania, Östling’s comments are unlikely to stand him in good stead when the German company decides who it should keep on.
“We cannot imagine a CEO for an international company making such comparison,” a spokesman for MAN told the Financial Times.