Party Over! Germany's Glitziest Car Awards Canceled Over Diesel

(Bloomberg) -- And Germany’s most prestigious automaker awards go to .... no one!

In a country where Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG 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’s little reason for self congratulation, leading publisher Axel Springer SE, the event’s organizer, to cancel 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 Chief Executive 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’s diesel cheating scandal first broke.

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