Take Note, Hollywood: Germany Cancels Prestigious Auto Awards Due to Criminality, Awkwardness

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
take note hollywood germany cancels prestigious auto awards due to criminality

The organizers of televised U.S. awards shows, who annually serve up a night of lectures, sermons, hypocrisy, and guilt for an increasingly small audience, should realize that the show doesn’t necessarily have to go on.

It’s certainly not going on in Germany. Axel Springer, a top publishing house for numerous German media sources, including AutoBild, has now wrestled the prestigious Golden Steering Wheel award out of everyone’s hands. There’ll be no thanking of grade school teachers by auto execs this year. Blame, well, the auto industry.

Apparently, there’s so much scandal emanating from an industry rocked by criminal investigations and fines resulting from diesel emissions manipulation, organizers felt is would be too weird to go on with the show. This week’s arrest of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was likely the final straw.

Stadler (seen above in a happier moment) was arrested in Munich after investigators raided his home and workplace. Accused of fraud, Stadler is being held in custody after a judge ruled the now-former CEO might try to destroy evidence related to Volkswagen Group’s diesel scandal (or bolt) if released.

A cloud of suspicion hangs over other former and current executives. Former Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn is the subject of an official probe, as is current CEO Mathias Müller. Punitive fines hit VW earlier this month. Daimler AG was ordered to recall three-quarters of a million vehicles just last week.

The only thing this situation doesn’t have is sex, and thank goodness for that.

“We love cars. The people who build, buy and drive them are our customers as well as our readers,” said Marion Horn, editor-in-chief of Bild am Sonntag, in a Friday statement reported by Bloomberg. “But now is not the time to grant awards and celebrate.”

The first Golden Steering Wheel awards landed in the hands of auto executives in 1978. It’s likely the glitz and glamour will return next year.

[Image: Audi AG]

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  • Jpolicke Jpolicke on Jun 23, 2018

    "The only thing this situation doesn’t have is sex" Throw in a highlights reel of Ferdinand Piech's personal life and you'll have all of that you can handle.

  • Ermel Ermel on Jun 23, 2018

    Springer, best known for their BILD newspaper, is merely yellow press. Huge but shallow, and not above fabricating their own news in much the same way that the ocean is not above the clouds.

  • Wjtinfwb Over the years I've owned 3, one LH (a Concorde) a Gen 1 300 and a Gen 2 300C "John Varvatos". The Concorde was a very nice car for the time with immense room inside and decent power from the DOHC 3.5L. But quality was awful, it spent more time in the shop than the driveway. It gave way to a Gen 1 300, OK but the V6 was underwhelming in this car compared to the Concorde but did it's job. The Gen 1's letdown was the awful interior with acres of plastic, leather that did it's best imitation of vinyl and a featureless dashboard that looked lifted from a cheaper car. My last one was a '14 300C John Varvatos with the Pentastar. Great car, sufficient power and exceptional highway mileage. The interior was much better than the original as well. It was felled by a defective instrument cluster that took over 90 days to fix and was ultimately lemon law' d back to FCA. I'd love one of the 392 powered final edition 300s but understand they're already sold out and if I had an extra 60k available, would likely choose a CPO BMW 540i for comparable money.
  • Dukeisduke Thanks Cary. Folks need to make sure they buy the correct antifreeze, since there are so many OEM-specific ones out there nowadays (Dex-Cool, Ford gold, Toyota red and pink, etc.).And sorry to hear about your family situation - my wife and I have been dealing with her 88-yo mom, moving her into independent senior living, selling her house, etc. It's a lot to deal with.
  • FreedMike Always lusted after that first-gen 300 - particularly the "Heritage Edition," which had special 300 badging and a translucent plastic steering wheel (ala the '50s and '60s "letter cars").
  • Dave M. Although the effective takeover by Daimler is pooped upon, this is one they got right. I wasn't a fan of the LHs, mostly due to reported mechanical, NVH and build quality issues, but I though Chrysler hit it out of the park with the LXs. The other hyped release that year was the Ford Five Hundred, which, while a well-built car with superior interior space, couldn't hold a candle to the 300.
  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.