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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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2 of 19 comments
  • 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.

  • James Hendricks The depreciation on the Turbo S is going to be epic!
  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.