Playing Favorites?

German car industry rocked by vote rigging

Andy Bolig - January 21, 2014 09:25 AM


Image 1 of 1

We've got our work cut out for us to repair the tarnished reputation

Germany's ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club) car club said revelations that it had falsified the results of its annual car award struck at the core of its credibility and has led some critics to raise questions about its car safety tests.

ADAC communications director Michael Ramstetter resigned after conceding he manipulated the results of the car club's coveted "Yellow Angel" award for Germany's favorite car, which was won last week by the Volkswagen Golf.

"We've got our work cut out for us to repair the tarnished reputation," said ADAC managing director Karl Obermair, who called Ramstetter's actions "an inexcusable mistake."

"We're very sorry," added Obermair, who initially scolded media for reporting doubts about ADAC's vote counting. "This strikes at the very core of our existence. Our goal is to restore our credibility."

ADAC, Europe's largest and most influential car club, has over 18 million members. Its Yellow Angel award can give a boost to sales in a competitive domestic market. ADAC, whose car test reports are followed closely in a country with a deep affinity for its automobiles, said the order of the results was not tampered with -- only the total number of votes.

ADAC conceded that Ramstetter, the editor of ADAC's popular ADAC Motorwelt magazine, that calls itself Europe's biggest monthly, massively inflated the results of votes, saying 34,299 motorists had voted for the Golf as Germany's favorite car when it had only been 3,409 votes.