ADAC Award Fraud Sparks Major Scandal in Germany

Everybody thinks of Germany as a society without corruption, lobbying and any sort of wrongful doing. Our next story is sure to turn that perception on its head, because where there's big business, there are big interests.
ADAC 2014 award fraud 1 photo
The ADAC, short for Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil-Club, is not only the biggest automotive club in Germany, but also the whole of Europe. It's 19 million members grant it instant credibility, the backbone for major auto awards that many buyers look to for guidance.

That backbone has been abused and distorted in a way that could take the shape of the biggest automotive scandal of the year.

Michael Ramstetter, the ADAC’s communications chief executive, revealed today that he has for a number of years fraud the Golden Angel awards. Mister Ramstetter, who has since stepped down from his job, says this year's winner actually received 3,400 votes but was announced to have ten times as many, 34,000 votes.

He also admitted to falsifying results for 2013 and 2012. The ADAC Golden Angel, or Gelber Engel, was given in 2014 to the VW Golf, in 2013 to the Mercedes A-Class and in 2012 to the Audi Q3. However, the award also names the best "quality", "car of the future" and "innovation for the environment".

The full extent of the vote rigging scheme is not yet known. ADAC chief executive Karl Obermair distanced himself from Mr Ramstetter's actions, which is strange considering this sort of lobbying rarely happens without top officials being involved.



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