BERLIN: German car lovers voiced fury at the country’s powerful automotive association after it admitted to having manipulated a survey determining the nation’s favorite car.
The scandal around the annual “Yellow Angel” prize dominated newspaper front pages after the 19-million-member auto club Adac came clean on having tweaked survey data for the coveted award.
“It’s a write-off,” judged top-selling newspaper Bild, likening the damage to the 111-year-old association’s image to that of a totaled car.
The Adac admitted to having inflated the number of survey participants tenfold, saying that more than 34,000 people had voted for the VW Golf as “Germany’s Favorite Car” when the true number was only 3,400. But the Adac insisted the overall order of the ranking, in which the VW Golf was declared the winner this year, was accurate.
The Adac is best known in Germany for its Yellow Angel roadside assistance patrols that rush to the aid of stranded drivers, as well as for its rescue helicopters. But the Munich-based club is also a major lobby group and a corporate entity that tests vehicle safety and sells commercial services from car rentals and insurance to holidays and long-distance bus services. Founded in 1903, it is Europe’s biggest automotive club, and its member magazine, Adac Motorwelt, claims to have Europe’s biggest circulation at 13 million.