Germany’s ADAC 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, 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 conceded that Ramstetter, the editor of ADAC’s popular ADAC Motorwelt magazine, that calls itself Europe’s biggest monthly with 18 million readers, 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.
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.
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.
But that comment did little to calm the storm of protest in Germany over the vote rigging at what is usually ranked as one of the country’s most respected institutions alongside the Bundesbank and the consumer watchdog Stiftung Warentest.
The ADAC affair recalled another scandal about German car testing in 1997 when a Swedish motor magazine found Mercedes-Benz’s A class tended to flip while undergoing its “elk test”, or evasive maneuver test. German magazines did not detect the flaw. Mercedes first declined to comment but later recalled the cars to retrofit added safety features.
Via Automotive News Europe