Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes are returning their “Yellow Angel” prizes to the ADAC and the president of the German automobile club is stepping down because of last month’s award scandal.
Last month, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung discovered that the results of the “Gelber Engel” award were manipulated by artificially increasing the number of voters, in order to add credibility to the award. For example: the number of votes for the winning Volkswagen Golf was increased tenfold.
Research by consulting firm Deloitte shows that there has been “deliberate manipulation ” and that the data processing was flawed. It became apparent that not only the number of votes was manipulated, but also the order of the results. The Golf would still have been the winner, but while the BMW 3-Series would officially have taken second place, but it wasn’t even in the top 5 of the results published by the ADAC. The Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class were each moved up one spot into second and third position respectively. Deloitte is now investigating whether a similar fraud has been committed with the award surveys from 2005 through 2013. [Read more…]