Members of Europe's largest and most influential car club, ADAC, have slammed the organisation after it was revealed the results of its survey naming Germany's favourite car were manipulated.
ADAC communications director Michael Ramstetter has resigned after admitting that he meddled with the results of the club’s renowned ‘Yellow Angel’ award for Germany’s favourite car, which was presented to the Volkswagen Golf last week.
ADAC has since confirmed the number of votes were massively inflated, initially claiming that the Golf had received 34,299 votes when in reality it only received 3409. It insists, however, that only the number of votes, and not the order, had been changed, confirming that the Volkswagen was still the rightful winner.
With more than 18 million members and a similar readership for its magazine ADAC Motorwelt, which it claims makes it Europe’s most widely read monthly publication, ADAC’s ability to influence new car buyers and give sales a subsequent shot in the arm is undeniably large.
Members have flooded ADAC’s social media pages with protest, criticising the organisation whose reputation is built on its honesty, transparency and credibility.
Volkswagen has offered to hand back the award, telling NDR Radio that “the ball’s in ADAC’s court now”.
ADAC managing director Karl Obermair has apologised for Ramstetter’s actions, which he called an “inexcusable mistake”.
“We’re very sorry,” Obermair said. “This strikes at the very core of our existence. Our goal is to restore our credibility.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us to repair the tarnished reputation.”