FRANKFURT -- Germany’s most prestigious automaker awards will go to no one this year.
In a country where Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW dominate news coverage and their CEOs are treated like celebrities, the "Golden Steering Wheel" awards are usually a glitzy production with a mix of executives and movie stars that provide days of tabloid fodder.
But this year -- with fines and investigations piling up and executives behind bars -- there is little reason for self-congratulation. Publisher Axel Springer, the event's organizer, has cancelled the annual party.
"We love cars. The people who build, buy and drive them are our customers as well as our readers," Marion Horn, editor-in-chief of Springer weekly Bild am Sonntag, said on Friday. "But now is not the time to grant awards and celebrate."
The announcement comes the same week that Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested by German police over his role in the diesel scandal, amid allegations he might be trying to tamper with evidence.
Last, week, Daimler was ordered by the German transport ministry to recall 774,000 diesel cars in Europe despite previously denying that it breached emission rules. These latest developments come nearly three years after Volkswagen Group's diesel-cheating scandal first broke.