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General German Automobile Club
legal form registered association
founding May 24, 1903
Seat Munich ( coordinates: 48 ° 7 ′ 59.9 ″  N , 11 ° 31 ′ 40.1 ″  E )
precursor German Motorcyclists Association
main emphasis Motor vehicles , motor sports
Chair August Markl
sales 215 million euros
Employees 2837
Members 21,205,353 (end of 2019)

The General German Automobile Club e. V. , or ADAC for short , is Europe's largest traffic club . Its seat is in Munich .

The purpose of the ADAC is "to protect and promote the interests of motoring , motor sports and tourism ". It is committed to the private and professional mobility of its members and their families. Its original and best known service is roadside assistance . In addition, the club offers  services - directly or through subsidiaries -, sells city ​​maps , road maps and car atlases, and operates several driving safety centers . He works closely with the Austrian ÖAMTC . He also operates the largest fleet of rescue helicopters in Germany through the non-profit subsidiary ADAC Luftrettung gGmbH ; ADAC air rescue helicopters started on around 54,000 missions in 2019.

The ADAC is one of the 78 selected associations in Germany that are allowed to carry out a model declaratory action .


ADAC logo from 1951
DDAC membership card from 1938
Application for admission to the ADAC from 1968

The ADAC was founded on May 24, 1903 in the Hotel Silber in Stuttgart as the German Motorcyclists' Association and in 1911 it was converted into the General German Automobile Club (ADAC). The Prussian eagle was chosen as the heraldic animal for the ADAC on the occasion of the support of the last German emperor and Prussian king, Wilhelm II .

During the time of National Socialism , all driver associations and automobile clubs were incorporated into the association Der Deutsche Automobil-Club e. V. (DDAC), which existed alongside the NSKK (social synchronization ). “A show for the people - no longer, as in previous years, an exhibition for the middle-class, wealthy classes. Volkskraftfahrt - that is motoring in the spirit of the Führer! ”Was a call by the DDAC for the 1934 automobile exhibition.

After the Second World War , the ADAC was first re-established in Munich on December 5, 1946, and from 1948 it was also approved in the other western occupation zones . The re-founded ADAC sees itself in the tradition of the ADAC, which existed from 1903 to 1933, and continues this. At the head of the association there is now a president (formerly 1st chairman).

In 1954, the new ADAC road watch with a fleet of 60 sidecar motorcycles was presented. The main task of the road patrol drivers - all of whom are trained auto mechanics - is to provide support in the event of breakdowns and first aid.

The ADAC tested small cars for the first time in 1959. The clutch, brakes and acceleration are all on the test bench. The results are published in the motor world.

The ADAC put the first ADAC rescue helicopter into operation in 1970. The yellow helicopter named "Christoph" has a pilot, a paramedic and a doctor on board.

In 1974 - four years after the highest number of accidents in what was then the Federal Republic of Germany (62 million inhabitants) with more than 19,000 road deaths annually (2009 total Germany with 83 million inhabitants around 4,000) and three months after the height of the oil crisis with the first car-free Sunday in Germany - under its President Franz Stadler (1913–2000) , the ADAC coined the slogan Free citizens demand free travel (bumper sticker campaign, dpa of February 28, 1974). The following entry can be found in the ADAC chronicle:

1974: The ADAC criticizes the 100 km / h large-scale test on the autobahn. The ' Motorwelt ' announces that the club wants to do everything possible to prevent the 'unrealistic slow pace'. With 100 km / h on country roads, however, the ADAC has become friends. "

In 1989 20 mostly left-liberal Germans resigned from the club because of ADAC actions against Tempo 100 at the AVUS in Berlin and announced this with an advertisement under the title ADAC Ade . Klaus Staeck and Günter Grass were among the 20 signatories . The ADAC was accused of promoting “environmentally hostile behavior”, “frenzy dangerous to the public” and “abuse of the word freedom”. As a result, 2000 members left the club in Berlin. The environmental protection association Robin Wood called the ADAC the "Auto-Mayf-Alles-Club".

In 1997, the new ADAC technology center was opened in Landsberg am Lech in Upper Bavaria, where 150 new cars are tested and evaluated every year.

In 2003, the club criticized the pilot test for a driver's license in Lower Saxony at the age of 17 and celebrated its own 100th anniversary.

The ADAC foundation "Gelber Engel" was founded in 2007. It has set itself the goal of helping people who find themselves in financial need after a traffic accident to regain their mobility. In addition, the foundation supports initiatives and institutions in the fields of accident relief and accident research.


The ADAC is an ideal association that does not orientate its activities towards economic purposes, but orientates itself towards the interests and needs of its members.

The ADAC reorganized itself in the course of 2016. It therefore consists of a three-pillar structure with an association, a European stock corporation and a foundation. This was approved by around 200 delegates at the extraordinary general meeting at the end of 2014. In 2015 the structure was worked out in detail. At the ADAC general assembly in 2016 in Lübeck, the delegates agreed to a restructuring.

In the ADAC e. V. are central member services such as B. breakdown assistance, consumer protection, motorsport, tourism, legal headquarters and the club magazine "ADAC Motorwelt" summarized.

Commercial activities are combined in an independent stock corporation (ADAC SE ), which is separate from the association . The majority of ADAC SE is held by ADAC eV with a share of 57.74 percent. The ADAC Foundation (25.10 percent) and several ADAC regional clubs via affiliated companies (17.16 percent) hold additional shares.

The ADAC Foundation is the third pillar alongside the association and the stock corporation. The charitable activities of the ADAC are bundled here. The purposes of the foundation are based on the purposes of the association. The purpose is to promote rescue from danger to life, accident prevention, science and research, education and charity.

The implementation of the 3-pillar structure was completed in early 2017.

General meeting

The annual general meeting of the ADAC elects the members of the executive committee every four years. This general assembly is made up of delegates from the regional clubs, members of the Board of Directors and the Presidium. For every 100,000 full members of a regional club or part thereof, a representative is sent to the general assembly. By a unanimous decision of the Presidium, domestic and foreign persons who have made special contributions to the automotive industry can be awarded honorary membership of the ADAC. Honorary members have the same rights as ordinary members.

An extraordinary general meeting took place on December 6, 2014, at which August Markl was elected President.

At the annual general meeting at the Nürburgring in May 2019, Ulrich Klaus Becker (Vice President), Karsten Schulze (Technology President) and Gerhard Hillebrand (Transport President) were elected to their offices by the more than 200 delegates. Jens Kuhfuß was confirmed as finance president. Together with President August Markl, Sports President Hermann Tomczyk and Tourism President Kurt Heinen, they form the newly composed seven-person ADAC eV Presidium

At the Extraordinary General Meeting in Munich in November 2019, the ADAC decided on premium membership, which expands the existing Plus membership with numerous benefits. At the same time, the contributions for the existing membership models were adjusted. The highest committee of the ADAC has also decided to change the statutes. Essentially, the new version is about delimiting decision-making and advisory bodies in the club more consistently and assigning tasks clearly.

The next ordinary general meeting will take place in November 2020 in Munich.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors consists of the members of the Presidium and the 18 chairmen of the regional clubs or their deputies. The resolutions of the Board of Directors are binding for all regional clubs.


The seven-member voluntary ADAC Presidium is elected at the Annual General Meeting in accordance with the statutes of the Federal Association. The presidium has a president as spokesman. The current president is August Markl after Peter Meyer resigned from his office on February 10, 2014 as part of the ADAC affair. The presidium members have a term of four years and can be re-elected. The General Syndic of the ADAC (since 2016 lawyer and notary Christian Reinicke) takes part in the meetings of the Presidium.

Past Presidents and First Chairmen

Emil Schmolz, Chairman of the DMV (ADAC predecessor)
August Markl, President of ADAC since 2014
  • 1903–1905: Emil Schmolz, first chairman of the German Motorcyclists Association (DMV) - the forerunner of the ADAC
  • 1905–1925: Josef Bruckmayer
  • 1926–1932: Carl Fritz
  • 1933: Hermann Fulle, last ADAC president before the forced incorporation into the DDAC
  • 1933–1938: Günther Freiherr von Egloffstein , President of the DDAC
  • 1938–1945: Fritz Junghans , President of the DDAC
  • 1946–1948: Ludwig Sporer
  • 1948–1953: Hans Meyer-Seebohm
  • 1953–1964: Werner Endress
  • 1964–1972: Hans Bretz
  • 1972–1989: Franz Stadler
  • 1989–2001: Otto Flimm
  • 2001–2014: Peter Meyer
  • 2014–: August Markl

Management and board of directors

The board of directors of ADAC eV leads the association full-time. The directors of ADAC eV are Dieter Nirschl, Lars Soutschka and Oliver Weissenberger Marion Ebentheuer, Mahbod Asgari and Jörg Helten are directors of ADAC SE and Andrea David are directors of the ADAC Foundation.

Regional clubs

According to its statutes, the ADAC is divided into regional clubs. The association used the term Gaue for the regional clubs until 2014 .

There are currently 18 regional clubs with their own legal personality, which according to the statutes currently receive 37 percent of the membership fees:

  • ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e. V.
  • ADAC Hansa e. V. (Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)
  • ADAC Hessen-Thüringen e. V.
  • ADAC Mittelrhein e. V.
  • ADAC Lower Saxony Saxony-Anhalt e. V.
  • ADAC Nordbaden e. V.
  • ADAC Nordbayern e. V.
  • ADAC Nordrhein e. V.
  • ADAC Pfalz e. V.
  • ADAC Saarland e. V.
  • ADAC Sachsen e. V.
  • ADAC Schleswig-Holstein e. V.
  • ADAC Ostwestfalen-Lippe e. V.
  • ADAC Südbaden e. V.
  • ADAC Südbayern e. V.
  • ADAC Weser-Ems e. V.
  • ADAC Westfalen e. V.
  • ADAC Württemberg e. V.

At the lowest level, there are around 1760 active local ADAC clubs, which are usually motorsport clubs and organize the majority of German motorsport events. The spectrum ranges from youth groups who take part in bicycle tournaments or learn karting, through motocross, automobile slalom, rally and circuit racing to formula races. In the meantime, classic car activities are also increasing. These local clubs are usually the personnel basis for the voluntary association work in the ADAC. At least 30 people can found a local ADAC club, which must be recognized by the board of a regional club.

The ADAC members registered in a region are automatically also members of the respective regional club. The chairmen and delegates of a regional club are elected in the annual regional general assembly (MV). The chairmen of the regional clubs are also members of the administrative board of ADAC e. V. The members of the regional club also decide on the discharge of the board, the budget and changes to the statutes. Members are invited to the regional general assembly generally in the first quarter of a financial year by means of a notice in the ADAC Motorwelt member magazine and must register in writing; in future it will also be possible to register online. More is regulated in the statutes of the regional clubs.

The ADAC Nordbayern has to contend with most of the scandals: serious allegations of sexism that were not dealt with, and it was not possible to determine who had installed eavesdropping devices in the ADAC office in Nuremberg a few years ago. So far, however, the managing director of ADAC Nordbayern has been able to stay in office despite all the affairs.


Structure of the election of the ADAC presidium

The individual member can join one of the 1760 local clubs, which is a separate association, and vote for a delegate there, who is sent to the regional assembly. Instead, the member can participate himself if he has registered a few weeks in advance. Delegates unite the votes of all members of the local club in the meeting, which is why an individual there has a relatively low voting weight. Applications by ordinary members must be submitted in writing beforehand. Each of the 18 regional assemblies sends one delegate to the general assembly for every 100,000 members or part thereof; the members of the board of directors and the executive committee also sit there. The general assembly finally elects the presidium.

In the wake of the criticism of the ADAC in January 2014 (→  reporting and criticism in the media ), the rules for electing the board of directors were also criticized as being opaque.

This criticism has been going on for a long time, so the Manager Magazin wrote a little differently in the 8/2004 issue and headlined Moloch ADAC - The Dubious Businesses of the Automobile Club . The magazine showed several examples where ADAC association officials seem to blur the line between volunteering and private business.

ADAC is different from the ordinary meaning under counsel a lawyer understood that each represent an area the club members on issues of traffic law advises and troubleshooting questions in the purchase or repair of vehicles.

Administration building

New building (Munich, Hansastraße 19)

With the exception of the first two years, the ADAC is based in Munich, for the longest time, 1973 to 2011, at Am Westpark  8. The office building became too small over time and was demolished in mid-2012. Therefore, a 93 meter high office tower in the Sendling district , Hansastraße 19, was built for an estimated 350 million euros (architects Sauerbruch Hutton ). The new building was occupied in December 2011. The official inauguration was on March 22, 2012. The star-shaped office high-rise is 23-storey (with a five-storey base) and has a floor area of 125,000 m².

On the property, in front of the high-rise building, there is also the historic Sander Villa , called by the ADAC Clubhouse , which houses the library and several ADAC collections and which is otherwise used for meetings and conferences.

Structure and numbers


The ADAC had around 21.2 million members in December 2019. This makes it the second largest automobile club in the world after the US AAA .

In 2019, 58 percent of the members were men and 42 percent women, the average age was 51 years. Members stay in the association for an average of 21 years.

Development of membership numbers
year Members Change compared
to previous year
1947 7,235
1950 60,000
1951 100,000 + 40,000
1953 200,000
1964 800,000
1970 2,000,000
1973 3,000,000
1978 5,600,000
1982 6,800,000
1989 9,300,000
1991 11,000,000
1997 11,734,997
2000 14,313,000
2001 14,433,000 + 120,000
2002 14,579,000 + 146,000
2003 14,806,000 + 227,000
2004 15,047,000 + 241,000
2005 15,425,000 + 378,000
2006 15,759,000 + 334,000
2007 16,070,000 + 311,000
2008 16,401,000 + 331,000
2009 16,784,000 + 383,000
2010 17,278,000 + 494,000
2011 17,859,000 + 581,000
2012 18,415,000 + 556,000
2013 18,940,000 + 525,000
2014 18,920,000 - 20,000
2015 19.152.063 + 180,000
2016 19,619,227 + 467.164
2017 20,178,569 + 559,342
2018 20,724,869 + 546,300
2019 21.205.353 + 480,484

ADAC e. V .: Fiscal year 2018

At the end of 2018, ADAC eV had 20.72 million members. The upward trend continued in the first few months of 2019 - at the end of April 2019, 20.84 million people were members of the ADAC.

Despite the steadily increasing number of members, the income from membership fees still does not cover the expenses for assistance such as ADAC breakdown assistance. The result from member services in 2018 was EUR -24.7 million after EUR -26.9 million in the previous year. With its future program and improved efficiency, the association is countering this negative development. The aim is to have black zero in membership benefits by the end of 2020.

Due to a one-off special effect, the annual result of ADAC eV 2018 was EUR 759.4 million.This includes a payment of capital reserves from ADAC SE to the association, a profit from the sale of eV shares in ADAC SE to ADAC regional clubs as well as an additional payment from the ADAC regional clubs for the increased breakdown assistance costs due to insurance tax. Adjusted for these special effects, the 2018 annual result of EUR −7.9 million was almost on a par with the previous year (2017: EUR −8.0 million).


ADAC SE, based in Munich, is a stock corporation under European law that offers mobility-oriented services and products for ADAC members, non-members and companies. The group consists of 28 subsidiaries and associated companies, including ADAC-Versicherung AG, ADAC-Finanzdienste GmbH, ADAC-Autovermietung GmbH and ADAC-Service GmbH. As a growth-oriented market participant, ADAC SE is driving digital transformation across all businesses, relying on innovation and future-proof technologies.

As part of its corporate purpose - participation in companies and the provision of business services - ADAC SE also manages the company shares of its subsidiaries.

The majority of ADAC SE is held by ADAC e. V. with a share of 57.74 percent. The ADAC Foundation (25.10 percent) and several ADAC regional clubs via affiliated companies (17.16 percent) hold additional shares.

Business development in 2018

The 2018 financial year continued to be characterized by the operational implementation of the three-pillar structure with in some cases far-reaching organizational cuts and changes to secure the future of the ADAC Group. All activities were in the context of the implementation of the ADAC umbrella strategy. The pole-position efficiency program started in 2017 was continued unabated in the 2018 financial year. The aim is to partly redesign, partly optimize, and leverage synergies for ADAC SE by 2020 in order to optimize costs and, where possible, save. From the company's management perspective, the Group's development in 2018 was satisfactory. The operating performance is slightly below the previous year's level and decreased by 1.6% to € 1,176.6 million. Consolidated net income developed positively, as expected, and amounts to € 77.1 million (+21.8%).

Earnings situation

The group recorded a year-on-year sales decline of 1.9 percent to € 1,142.5 million. The decline in sales resulted primarily from the lines of insurance (−9.7%) and other insurance premiums (−58.6%). Sales increases were primarily in the services (+ 9.1%), aircraft maintenance, sales and leasing (+ 5.7%), car rental (+ 7.4%) and other sales (+ 16.4%) divisions ). All other divisions recorded a total increase of 2.2 percent. As expected, insurance premiums decreased by 5.3 percent from a total of € 781.7 million to € 740.1 million. In the protection letter division, the premiums earned fell despite a higher number of insured individual risks, as the insurance premiums for the membership products were reduced by the allocated cost shares due to the new group insurance contract concluded with ADAC eV from July 1, 2017. In the other lines of business, the declining premiums in business with motor vehicle liability (−70.1%) and comprehensive insurance (−69.6%) due to the discontinuation of underwriting new risks had an impact. In contrast, the guarantee insurance / travel cancellation (+ 8.9%), legal protection (+1.8%) and health insurance (+ 0.9%) lines developed positively. The rise in sales in the guarantee insurance / travel cancellation line is mainly due to a significant increase in net additions due to successful sales and marketing measures. In the legal protection division, the successful introduction of the building blocks legal protection products on June 25, 2018 with significantly higher average premiums. The aviation division achieved a sales increase of 5.7 percent to € 95.1 million in the reporting year. Revenue in aircraft rental is significantly above the previous year's level (+ 19.0%) due to two additional aircraft. Revenue from the maintenance of aircraft rose by 4.5 percent, mainly due to a customer's sales growth. Compared to the previous year, the assistance services division reported almost unchanged sales of € 81.0 million (previous year: € 80.4 million). The increasing number of cases from car assistance ensure increasing sales. Sales revenues in the magazine business amounted to € 73.1 million in the reporting year, which means a decrease of 1.7 percent compared to the previous period. With sales of € 8.7 million (+31.8%), the book business is well above the previous year's level. The reason for this is, in particular, increased advertising revenues due to the bringing forward of the publication of the ADAC Camping Guide 2019 to December 2018. The cooperation model in the car rental business area, which is based on the direct and exclusive granting of discounts by cooperation partners to ADAC members, showed another significant international feature in the reporting year Growth and exceeded expectations. Overall, sales rose by 7.4 percent to € 36.5 million. As expected, sales in the Services division increased significantly by 9.1 percent to € 77.8 million in the year under review; This is mainly due to the increased IT services provided by ADAC eV

Financial position

The consolidated balance sheet total decreased compared to the previous year by € 517.6 million to € 1,647.2 million. The decrease results mainly from the reduction in fixed assets (−21.4% to € 1,385.2 million) and bank balances (−69.6% to € 73.2 million). Consolidated equity decreased from € 1,080.6 million to a total of € 510.3 million compared to the previous year, mainly due to the distribution to shareholders in the financial year. The provisions increased by a total of 4.5 percent to € 1,058.6 million. Compared to the previous year, liabilities increased by 9.7 percent to € 77.7 million.

Consolidated net income

Consolidated net income of € 77.1 million was achieved in the financial year, which is 21.8 percent up on the previous year (€ 63.3 million). This development is based on a slight decrease in gross profit (−0.3% to € 443.0 million), with a simultaneous increase in other operating income (+13.5%), with increased personnel expenses (+7.1%) and other operating expenses (+ 16.4%) and a significant increase in the financial result of € 21.2 million (or 98.6%). Earnings before taxes fell year-on-year by € 17.5 million to € 108.0 million (- 13.9%).

  • Fully consolidated companies according to § 294 HGB :
    • ADAC SE
    • ADAC-Aquico GmbH, Munich 100%
    • ADAC-Autovermietung GmbH, Munich 100% (founded in 1991, cooperation among others Avis, Hertz and Sixt)
    • ADAC-Camping GmbH, Munich 100%
    • ADAC-Finanzdienste GmbH, Munich 100% (1.4 million credit cards, car loans)
    • ADAC-HEMS and Fachkraft GmbH, Munich 100%
    • ADAC-IT-Service GmbH, Munich 100%
    • ADAC-Medien und Reise GmbH, Munich 100% (vignettes, camping guide)
    • ADAC-RSB-Gesellschaft, Munich 100% (travel agencies)
    • ADAC-RSR GmbH, Munich 100%
    • ADAC-Service Adria doo, Zagreb 100%
    • ADAC-Service GmbH, Munich 100%, (founded 1995, breakdown assistance in the assistance area)
    • ADAC-Service Hellas Single Member SA, Glyfada (Greece) 100%
    • ADAC-Service Italia Srl, Monza 100%
    • ADAC-SERVICIOS DE ASISTENCIA ESPAÑA, SL, El Prat de Llobregat / BCN 100%
    • ADAC-TruckService GmbH & Co. KG 100% Laichingen (breakdown assistance for trucks )
    • ADAC Versicherung AG, Munich 100% (travel, legal protection, accident insurance)
    • Aero-Dienst GmbH, Nuremberg 100% (offers repatriation of sick or injured people from abroad by means of converted business aircraft )
    • ARISA-Assurances SA, Luxembourg 100%
    • ARISA-Ré SA, Luxembourg 100%
    • BPCS-Consulting Services GmbH, Unterhaching 100%
    • Service Center Halle GmbH (DLC Halle), Halle (Saale) 100%
    • Europe-Net-NV, Brussels 98.75%
    • GKS Gesellschaft für Kommunikationsservice mbH, Passau 100%

  • Companies that are not fully consolidated in accordance with Section 296 (1) or (2) HGB:
    • 100% ADAC TruckService Verwaltungs GmbH, Munich

ADAC air rescue

Rescue helicopter Christoph 5
Dornier 328 Jet of the ADAC

The ADAC air rescue gGmbH (founded on 25 November 1981 as a GmbH) serves with 190 employees 55 rescue and intensive care transport helicopter . Of these, two EC 145 , 28 EC 135 and 15 BK 117 are distributed across 37 air rescue bases, two of which are abroad. In 2014 their turnover was 90 million euros. In Germany, ADAC Luftrettung is the largest civil air rescue service, followed by DRF Luftrettung .

In addition to air rescue with helicopters, the ADAC is involved in Aero-Dienst GmbH and also maintains a small fleet of ambulance aircraft for patient transport over medium distances:

ADAC-Luftrettung also provides Formula 1 helicopters for standby duty if there are races in Germany.

According to the commercial register, ADAC-Luftrettung was founded on November 25th, 1981 under the name of the ADAC Working Group for the Promotion of Air Rescue and General Road Safety (ADAC-Air Rescue) limited liability company . On March 29, 2000 the company was renamed ADAC-Luftrettung GmbH , on August 26, 2013 ADAC Luftrettung gGmbH.

ADAC Foundation "Yellow Angel"

The ADAC foundation "Gelber Engel" gGmbH has been campaigning for accident victims since 2007. It is intended to help people who have been harmed by accidents. It is endowed with a capital of 10 million euros and also promotes scientific research which, according to the ADAC, contributes to improving road safety. The foundation has been operating as a non-profit GmbH since September 2013.

ADAC Sports Foundation

The ADAC Sports Foundation was founded in 1998 to promote young German racing drivers. Young racing drivers with potential have the opportunity to be supported by experts and partners of the foundation. In addition to material grants, the scholarship holders also have access to training and coaching. In addition, financial resources are used to increase safety in motorsport and to support amateur motor sportspeople who have had an accident.

Work of the ADAC

According to its statutes, the ADAC sees its task in "safeguarding and promoting the interests of motor vehicles and motor sports" and is dedicated to progress in road traffic, traffic safety, traffic education, tourism and the protection of road users as consumers.

Mission statement

The almost 200 delegates of the 18 ADAC regional clubs unanimously adopted a new model for the ADAC as part of the “Reform for Trust” at the extraordinary general meeting in Munich in December 2014, which describes the essence and core of the ADAC. Accordingly, the ADAC is committed to the club in the future and is committed to keeping an eye on all the necessary requirements. This relates not only to the legal form, but above all to the idea of ​​a value-oriented membership organization in which one supports one another. This means that the ADAC also stands for its self-image as a member organization and the structure of the association in the new mission statement. In addition, further strengths and values ​​of the ADAC can be found in the mission statement, for example the commitment to the “member in the center”, to a democratically elected honorary position or the ADAC as a committed consumer advocate.

ADAC road watch

Attaching an accident vehicle to a tow truck
ADAC breakdown service vehicle (2005)
Historic breakdown vehicle
Historic breakdown assistance motorcycle

The most important service of the ADAC is breakdown assistance. The origin of the road patrol goes back to the year 1928, when the "ADAC road relief service" was founded. At that time, the breakdown service was on the road with motorcycle and sidecar. After a break due to the war, the breakdown service was re-established in 1954 as the “ADAC Road Guard” and expanded to the new federal states in 1990. In addition, there has been a foreign aid service since 1951.

The ADAC has more than 1700 yellow road patrol vehicles ( yellow angels ) in use. In the 1960s and 1970s, the yellow Beetles were part of the German street scene. Nowadays the ADAC uses vans that are loaded with up to 290 kilograms of equipment: from the right tools to a digital diagnostic device to spare parts and replacement batteries. In the event of a breakdown, a member can request breakdown assistance via telephone, emergency number, internet or smartphone app: a dispatcher in one of the five breakdown assistance centers records the necessary data and forwards it to the next available road patrol driver. They will contact the member by phone a few minutes before they arrive.

The ADAC also offers a Europe-wide breakdown service for trucks. There are also special truck breakdown vehicles in Germany. In other European countries this service is offered by other ADAC partner companies. The road patrol drivers take part in provisioning systems and competitions for recruiting members.

In 2019, the ADAC road patrol drivers and mobility partners were deployed 3.7 million times; almost 10,300 times a day. As in previous years, problems with the car battery were the most common cause of breakdowns at just under 42 percent.

Lobbying and public relations

The ADAC is one of the most influential associations in Germany and one of the largest lobby associations in the world. Topics of his public relations work are, for example, the maintenance of motorized mobility, the prevention of speed limits , traffic law and regulations on fines , the safety of tunnels and car ferries as well as traffic education .

In recent years, the ADAC has increasingly opened up to the interests of other modes of transport, including tests on public transport or cycling in cities. The ADAC regularly issues press releases and informs its club members through the club magazine ADAC Motorwelt .

From 2020 the ADAC Motorwelt will appear four times a year. Since the first quarter of 2020, the Burda subsidiary BCN has been responsible as general contractor for production, manufacture and printing as well as for editing, marketing and distribution of the ADAC motor world; the mobility club remains the publisher and is still responsible for the content via the editor-in-chief Martin Kunz. At the same time, the ADAC is expanding its digital communication channels.

From 2020, the new ADAC Motorwelt will be sold through ADAC branches and travel agencies, ADAC driving safety centers and over-the-counter retail outlets at EDEKA and Netto-Marken-Discount. Members can take the magazine with them on presentation of their membership card.

Membership in associations

The ADAC is a member of

  • FIA , the international association of automobile clubs
  • FIVA , the world association of classic car clubs
  • Euro NCAP crash test consortium
  • Lobby association Pro Mobility , which advocates the expansion and maintenance of the road network
  • Network European Movement Germany
  • EuropeNet24 (Europe-wide truck breakdown assistance)


The ADAC provides information on the subject of tourism and travel. It provides up-to-date information on travel-related topics in the travel and leisure world. The tourist advice includes information about sights in the most important holiday regions, interesting facts about the travel destination, traffic and toll regulations, weather forecasts worldwide, current travel and safety information, mobility information for city trips, information about the Carnet de Passages.

There is specialist information for campers and boaters. ADAC Tourism offers tour recommendations for motorcycle and classic car drivers.

The ADAC members can either receive the information and advice personally in one of the ADAC offices or use it digitally via and apps.

The ADAC is committed to automobile tourism : in the course of reunification , the association, together with the German Forest Protection Association and the German Tourism Association, participated in the designation of the 2500 kilometer long German avenue road .

Traffic safety

ADAC practice area Travering near Bad Oldesloe

In specialist events and contributions, the ADAC also positions itself in questions of road safety, traffic law, traffic policy and traffic planning, as well as environmental issues.

In 2006 he was critical of the topic of driving license tourism in press releases and called for the harmonization of driving license law in Europe as soon as possible.

It also offers driver safety training at its eleven driver safety centers and 40 training facilities across Germany . The declared aim here is to increase the driving safety of the participants, to sensitize them to critical traffic situations and to impart theoretical knowledge of vehicle technology. There are special training courses for cars, motorcycles, vans, buses and trucks.

However, with several of the ADAC positions it is also heavily disputed whether they really serve traffic safety or whether they do not do much harm.

The association justified its negative attitude towards a general speed limit, among other things, with the fact that motorways in Germany are already the safest roads according to accident statistics and that a speed limit would not affect the severity of the accident. Proponents such as the Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD) argue that the speed limit would reduce the risk and severity of accidents and thus avoid hundreds of deaths and serious injuries on the highways every year. In view of the unclear opinion of the population and the ADAC membership, the ADAC has refrained from making a recommendation to politicians on the general speed limit on motorways until further notice. Studies and statistics to date have produced a very heterogeneous picture of the effects of a speed limit, both with regard to climate protection and with a view to road safety.

When it comes to traffic monitoring, ADAC demands that it should only be used to increase traffic safety and not as a financial instrument for public funds. For this reason, those responsible in the police, cities and municipalities should concentrate on designated accident black spots and special danger spots when monitoring traffic, and grant appropriate tolerances. He also demands that official measurements should be carried out at a distance of at least 150-200 m after the start or before the end of a speed limit. The ADAC justifies its position with the fact that the transparency improves the acceptance of speed monitoring and thus increases traffic safety. If, on the other hand, minor violations of traffic regulations were to be punished in full, this would be counterproductive for the educational effect.

Environmental policy

Even billions in demands for the expansion and new construction of the trunk road network are not necessarily in conflict with environmental protection for the ADAC. In the opinion of the association, traffic jams that are harmful to the environment and the economy can be avoided in this way.

The association claims a "moderate" environmental position for itself. In 2007 he officially stated in a request to relieve inner-city traffic jams for the first time that “the car is not the only means of transport in the city”. The association regularly publishes tips that give consumers suggestions for more environmentally friendly driving. The ADAC rejects the inclusion of traffic in emissions trading , as this would not make sense in the traffic sector due to specific features. In addition, he has spoken out several times against the introduction of environmental zones , as these are not a suitable instrument for combating fine dust pollution or through a separate study of the effectiveness of environmental zones.

According to the ADAC, environmental policy should take place in a framework that ensures people's mobility by car and should not be at the expense of economically and socially disadvantaged population groups.

Test and technique

In 1997 the ADAC set up its own technology center in Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria, in order to enable consumer protection to be as independent as possible. There he can use technical methods to screen vehicles and accessories for any safety defects.

Since then, the ADAC has been conducting tests in the fields of technology and mobility and publishes the test results via its media channels. In the field of technology z. B. Cars, tires, child seats, pedelecs, helmets and roof boxes are regularly checked. But new products such as wall boxes or e-scooters are also being tested as soon as they are available on the market. New technologies such as driver assistance systems and autonomous driving are being tested and the data security of networked systems is being examined. In the area of ​​mobility, the ADAC carries out consumer-oriented service and infrastructure tests, e.g. B. from long-distance bus stations, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, park & ​​ride systems or price comparisons of public transport tickets.

The ADAC eV performs most of its technical test work in the ADAC technology center in Landsberg am Lech. Among other things, there are technical test systems such as an exhaust gas laboratory and a crash test system. These test laboratories are named by the Federal Motor Transport Authority as a technical service in accordance with the quality standard DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025. The entire test area is certified according to ISO 9001: 2015.

Key emergency service

Since January 2019, members who have locked themselves out at home can get help as part of a pilot project in the urban areas of Munich, Berlin and Hamburg.

Ride-sharing club

With the ADAC-Mitfahrclub the ADAC offers a platform for carpooling .

ADAC for young people

The ADAC supports young people in getting started with mobility and provides information on topics such as safety on the road, driving licenses, buying a car, etc. There are membership models free of charge for young people, novice drivers and students. As a member, you have the opportunity to learn about driving license questions free of charge and to take advantage of services such as breakdown and accident assistance or initial legal advice.

ADAC breakdown statistics

ADAC Postbus

Reporting and criticism in the media

The ADAC is also a major business enterprise, with 2006 annual sales of around 1.6 billion euros. The monthly membership magazine ADACmotorwelt has the highest circulation in Germany and Europe with a circulation of almost 13.6 million. In addition, the ADAC publishes other magazines, e.g. B. German car law .

In the media, specialist journalists and z. Some politicians from the SPD and the Greens have repeatedly expressed criticism of the ADAC's association status. The association status gives the ADAC considerable advantages and prevents the transparency and control usual in commercial enterprises, for example in the form of a supervisory board . “A handful of functionaries run the business largely uncontrollably,” was the verdict of an article in Manager Magazin in 2004 .

On September 10, 2005 the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on an improperly carried out car test by the ADAC. The ADAC later confirmed corresponding reports. Then a tire was damaged in a car test for the Dacia Logan and a spare wheel was fitted, with which so-called moose tests were carried out until the vehicle (back then without ESP equipment) lost traction. The ADAC put the film recordings on the Internet in a media-effective manner.

In January 2013, the WDR broadcast a brand check via the ADAC. According to the film's authors, trust in the ADAC is “exaggerated”, as the ADAC does not always use its political power in the interests of its members. Furthermore, the ADAC is a “reliable savior in need” and a “convincing tester”. In view of the working conditions of employees, the ADAC appears as a "dubious employer".

On January 21, 2014, the faction of the Greens in Trier accused the ADAC of having stolen city funds by manipulating visitor numbers at the Rallye Deutschland .

On January 24, 2014, the star reported that high-ranking ADAC officials, including ADAC President Peter Meyer, had used ADAC air rescue helicopters. In 2003, for example, Meyer is said to have been transported by rescue helicopter from a business meeting at the Port of Hamburg to the Road Safety Day and then to Wolfsburg to a meeting of motor vehicle experts. The operating costs of an ADAC rescue helicopter are stated by ADAC Luftrettung gGmbH at around 60 to 70 euros per flight minute. The ADAC ambulance jet was also misused. Club boss Peter Meyer has admitted that the relative of a club manager used the plane for a private trip.

The picture reported on 27 January 2014, the ADAC Regional Club Hessen-Thüringen, based in Frankfurt am Main , who as investment one from membership fees in 2008 Villa for the managing director Andreas Hartel in a district of Bad Homburg was built. The value of the property is estimated at at least 1.5 million euros. According to its own information, Hartel pays a monthly rent of 3230 euros. The CSU member of the Bundestag Ulrich Lange , chairman of the transport and digital infrastructure working group, criticized ownership of the property.

On January 29, 2014, Bild reported on the additional private use of an ADAC ambulance aircraft during a return service carried out with an emergency doctor on board on August 4, 2012 on the flight to Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt). The son of a former ADAC executive and his friend were able to travel on the jump seats because they missed their charter flight to Egypt.

On January 29, 2014, Die Welt reported on the rescue helicopter Christoph 30 being deployed on February 17, 2006 in the Eintracht Stadium in Braunschweig to use the wind of the rotor blades to dry the sodden playing field before the second Bundesliga soccer match. According to the ADAC, an emergency doctor was also on boardduring this time incase an emergency had arrived. Reinhard Manlik, former chairman of the ADAC regional club Lower Saxony-Saxony-Anhalt e. V. on behalf of the stadium operator, Stadthallen GmbH. After a reprimand from the Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sport , the approximately 45-minute mission of the rescue helicopter was paid for by the Stadthallen GmbH.

The Frankenpost reported on January 30, 2014, an unnamed known former ADAC employee who accused the ADAC corruption in connection with the bathing water studies. According to this, in the period from 1992 to 2003, water investigations that the ADAC had commissioned for tourist bathing beaches were financed by tourist regions in southern Europe. At that time, it is said that “invitations from donors to pleasure trips with their spouses” were given to employees of the companies commissioned with the investigation.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and the NDR magazine Panorama reported on January 31, 2014 that the employees of the road patrol are said to have received a single-digit percentage of their wages reimbursed for replacing defective or empty batteries. The new car batteries that the Yellow Angels have in their cars are manufactured by Varta AG especially for the ADAC. In the SZ , a former road patrol driver, who drove for ten years as a yellow angel, claims: "Drivers are chatted on batteries that they don't need or that they could get at a much cheaper price when shopping regularly." According to the ADAC breakdown statistics, there was a total of 2012 685,751 cases of cars broken down due to battery problems. In around 165,000 of these cases, the ADAC sold a new car battery. When asked, the ADAC confirmed, according to Spiegel, that the battery service was an "essential feature of successful on-site breakdown assistance" as part of the employee reviews.

A press release by the ADAC on February 3, 2014 named 15,000 additional layoffs in January 2014 due to the events at the time. However, a number of 60,000 additional layoffs is more likely than in the same period in 2013. A little later, the ADAC partially confirmed these assumptions. reported on February 27, 2014 that the ADAC was aggressively recruiting members even in discos . The authorized distribution partner agencies would take this no account of the limited capacity after drinking alcohol. In addition, underage children were also recruited to become ADAC starter members through external sales agencies that were bound by instructions from the ADAC, sometimes against the knowledge of their parents . These initially free memberships would automatically be converted into paid full memberships one year after reaching the age of majority . In addition, the sales partners distributed commissions to driving instructors when they recruited new members. The association benefits from the practices in two ways. On the one hand, the young people increased the number of members from the day they came of age. On the other hand, they also lowered the average age. In addition, the association secures a positive premium income in advance.

In March 2014 it became known that the ADAC had to pay additional taxes of 500 million euros because the association, which also acts as an insurer through its accident and breakdown assistance, had not paid any insurance tax for the years 2007 to 2009.

On April 23, 2014, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported allegations that the ADAC had given preference to certain customer groups for breakdown assistance . Preference would not be given to ADAC members or ADAC-Plus members, but to drivers with a mobility guarantee from car manufacturers with whom the ADAC works.

On May 4, 2014, Spiegel Online and reported that the ADAC had significantly more money than previously known. A secret paper called Gauvergleich 2012 revealed a huge fortune of just under 3.5 billion euros. Around half of this was invested in securities in 2012 , around 400 million euros were held by Postbank and other credit institutions and a further 755 million euros were in real estate , often in prime downtown locations . The assets that emerged from the paper are significantly higher than the previously published figures of 2.16 billion euros in assets. Where the difference comes from has not yet been disclosed. Meanwhile, the club is not worried about clearing up the scandals , but is putting its energy primarily into maintaining its club status .

As a result of the information policy of the ADAC, the automobile club was awarded the negative award " Locked oyster " on July 5, 2014 . According to the journalists' association Netzwerk Recherche , the ADAC is “Information Blocker of the Year”.

As part of the crisis management , since October 2014 the automobile club has no longer offered repair shops to wear the label "ADAC workshop", but has since dedicated itself to testing workshops again.

At the beginning of 2014, the ADAC appointed an independent advisory board. The aim of the advisory board was to accompany the reform of the ADAC as an external driver, critic and advisor to the ADAC presidium and the ADAC management. The advisory board, consisting of Edda Müller, Jürgen Heraeus, Hans-Jürgen Papier and Rupert Graf Strachwitz, met in Munich in January 2016 for a final meeting to find out about the directional decisions made by the club committees at the end of 2015. The advisory board stated that the ADAC had pushed ahead with the promised realignment over the past few months and learned the right lessons from past mistakes.

Tampering with the Yellow Angel

The so-called ADAC scandal began with the research of the German journalists Bastian Obermayer and Uwe Ritzer , who accused the association on January 14, 2014 in the Süddeutsche Zeitung of having tuned the voting figures for the ADAC car award "Yellow Angel" - for which Obermayer and Ritzer later received numerous awards. On January 18, 2014, Michael Ramstetter , ADAC communications director and editor-in-chief of the ADAC Motorwelt member newspaper , resigned following allegations of manipulation in the awarding of the Gelber Engel car prize . According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the winning car VW Golf, which was awarded on January 16, 2014, only gave 3,409 votes instead of the 34,299 votes mentioned in an ADAC document. According to ADAC, Ramstetter did not change the ranking of the winners, but did multiply the number of votes. The management admitted that such manipulations had been practiced for several years. According to the assessment of the automotive expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer , the problem lies in the ADAC system, which does not allow adequate control and therefore has to be fundamentally revised. In particular, those existing interdependencies would have to be dismantled, through which the independence necessary for test organizations had hitherto been prevented. ADAC President Peter Meyer ruled out resigning on January 20 because of the scandal; he was "a guarantor for the clarification of the matter".

ADAC managing director Karl Obermair described details of the process in an interview published on January 22, 2014.

On January 22nd, 2014 ADAC President Peter Meyer announced that the car prize would no longer be awarded in the future.

On February 6, 2014, the SZ reported that the ranking of the Gelber Engel car price had been changed in addition to the number of votes. There are now indications of similar manipulations in earlier elections.

In an opinion, the auditing firm Deloitte, as an independent auditor, came to the conclusion that both the number of votes was artificially increased and the ranking of the placements in the controversial election was intentionally changed. The reasons for this are both errors in data processing and deliberate manipulation by the responsible employee. In addition, there were indications that similar changes had also been made in previous years. According to the report commissioned by the ADAC, between 2009 and 2013, in addition to the number of participants, the ranking of the vehicles was forged. For this reason, the ADAC is preparing legal steps against Michael Ramstetter , head of ADAC communications, who has since resigned . Ramstetter had also tried to manipulate the ranking of the touring limousine category in 2014 by illegally declaring the runner-up winner. Thanks to an attentive employee, this manipulation attempt could be foiled. Ramstetter has now filed a lawsuit against his dismissal at the Munich Labor Court. According to media reports, the ADAC is hindered in its realignment by the mutual legal disputes.

On February 10, 2014, President Peter Meyer resigned from office.

At the beginning of April 2014, the ADAC parted ways with its managing director Karl Obermair . It is not clear whether the separation took place amicably or in a dispute due to excessive monetary claims.

After the manipulation scandal, the German automobile groups Mercedes-Benz, BMW and VW returned 40 Yellow Angel winners' trophies with a reference to the lack of credibility. As a result of the manipulation scandal, the ADAC resigned around 320,000 members by the end of June, and an additional 60,000 for other reasons. At the same time, it gained 370,000 new members, so the total number remains almost unchanged. In response, the ADAC announced a far-reaching reform process of its structures. An external advisory board was established for this purpose in March 2014. Members of the advisory board are Jürgen Heraeus and Hans-Jürgen Papier , Edda Müller and Rupert Graf Strachwitz .

Fleet and vehicles from contractors


  • ADAC address book . General German Automobile Club, Munich 1914
  • 25 years ADAC Gau 7a, Hamburg-Lübeck. 1904-1929. Festschrift . General German Automobile Club / Gau Hansa, Hamburg 1929.
  • Technical ADAC yearbook . Published by the General German Automobile Club e. V. Munich / Berlin, Reich Association of Motor Vehicle Owners in Germany. ADAC, Augsburg 1933.
  • Hans Bretz: 50 years of ADAC in the service of motor vehicles . General German Automobile Club, Munich 1953.
  • Gerhard Kugler : Medical advice for vacation and travel. A book for the glove box. Among employees by Wolfgang Dattler. ADAC-Verlag, Munich, 1970.
  • Michael Dultz [editor]: 100 years of ADAC. Pictures, stories, backgrounds. 1903-2003. ADAC-Verlag, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-89905-149-1 .

Broadcast reports

Web links

Wiktionary: ADAC  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : ADAC  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: ADAC  - in the news

Individual evidence

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