ADAC of Germany, Europe's largest and most influential car club, is in hot water after falsifying results of its prestigious "Yellow Angel" car of the year award.
ADAC communications director Michael Ramstetter resigned after conceding he manipulated the vote for the award for Germany's favorite car, which was won this year by the Volkswagen Golf.
"We're very sorry," said ADAC boss Karl Obermair, who initially had scolded journalists for reporting doubts about ADAC's vote counting.
ADAC said Ramstetter, the editor of ADAC Motorwelt magazine, which calls itself Europe's biggest auto monthly with 18 million readers, massively inflated the results of votes, saying 34,299 motorists had voted for the Golf as Germany's favorite car when in fact the total was 3,409 votes.
ADAC said the order of the results was not tampered with -- only the total number of votes, according to Reuters.
But that did little to calm the storm of protest in Germany over the vote rigging.
Volkswagen said it was considering giving back the award.