The Germans are up in arms, Volkswagen is considering returning an award, and a company director has resigned.
The Volkswagen Golf was initially awarded the coveted “Yellow Angel” after ADAC claimed the small car had received 34,299 votes in a public poll, via its ADAC Motorwelt magazine (with a claimed 18 million readers).
However, the real figure on the Golf's tally has now been revealed to be just 3409 votes.
ADAC has promised a full investigation into the incident, but the motoring group says the Golf was nonetheless the award’s rightful winner - suggesting the total number of votes received across the award's contenders was lower than announced.
Magazine editor and company director, Michael Ramstetter, has claimed full responsibility and resigned, while Volkswagen has announced that it may return the award, pending the outcome of ADAC’s investigation.
"We have to assume that even in recent years, the number of votes cast was [changed] for the favourite car at the top," Chairman and CEO of ADAC, Dr Karl Obermair, said.
“We take the criticism of the ADAC extremely seriously, and will do everything to regain confidence in the ADAC.”
Dr Obermair said there was no evidence of further corruption within ADAC before apologising for the vote-rigging incident.