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