A controversial advert showing women bound and gagged in the trunk of a Ford Figo with disgraced former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi at the wheel has caused international outrage.

Ford India has apologised and said that the ads, uploaded on an industry website, were created by individuals within JWT India, a unit of the world's biggest advertising group WPP.

They did not go through the normal review and oversight process.

India's 'Image Guru' Dilip Cherian said in New Delhi on Tuesday (March 26th) that the nature of the humour in the adverts is badly timed.

He added that the nuance of the ads would never play out well to an Indian market.

"I think its central thematic was humour to show space and I think it erred pretty badly in terms of what kind of humour and its timing as far as India is concerned and as far as the world is concerned," said Dilip Cherian.

Ford has already apologised for another JWT India ad in the same vain, featuring celebrity family The Kardashians bound in a trunk with Paris Hilton driving.

Small family cars such as the Ford Figo are key to getting a foothold in India's booming automobile market.

Ford is already behind Maruti and Hyundai in Indian car sales. As for this controversial advertisement, Ford India did not comment on whether it was taking any action against the agency.

Presented by Adam Justice