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Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V.
PredecessorDeutsche Motorradfahrer-Vereinigung
Established24 May 1903; 121 years ago (1903-05-24)
Founded atStuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
TypeMotoring association
Legal statusEingetragener Verein (e. V.)
HeadquartersMunich, Bavaria, Germany
Official language
Christian Reinicke
Affiliations21,205,353 (31 December 2019)
215 million €
Websitewww.adac.de (in German)
ADAC "Yellow Angel"
An ADAC Eurocopter EC145
Fairchild Dornier 328JET flying for the ADAC

The ADAC, officially the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (lit.'General German Automobile Club'), is Europe's largest automobile association. The ADAC is the largest verein (club) in Germany, with around 21 million members.[2] Its headquarters are located in Munich. Its original and most well-known service is roadside assistance.[citation needed]

The objective of the ADAC is "the representation, promotion, and advocacy of motoring, motorsport, and tourism interests."[3] The ADAC also owns subsidiaries in the insurance and publishing sectors. These subsidiaries all operate under ADAC Beteiligungs- und Wirtschaftsdienst GmbH, which assumes the holding function.[citation needed] Via its subsidiary ADAC Luftrettung (lit.'ADAC Air Rescue'), the ADAC operates the largest fleet of ambulance helicopters in Germany.[4]


The Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC) was founded on 24 May 1903, at the then-Hotel Silber in Stuttgart. It was originally named the Deutsche Motorradfahrer-Vereinigung (German Motorcyclist Association).[citation needed] In 1911, due to an enormous growth in the membership of car owners, it was renamed the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC). The Prussian eagle was selected as the emblem on the club's badge in appreciation of the Prussian royal family's support and patronage. Its most senior figure at the time was the German Emperor and King of Prussia, Wilhelm II.[citation needed]

The ADAC breakdown assistance service was launched in Germany in 1927 under the name of ADAC-Straßen-Hilfsdienst.[5]

After 1933, during Gleichschaltung, the Nazi Party amalgamated all motoring organisations in Germany into the DDAC (Der Deutsche Automobil-Club e.V.), an umbrella association that was allowed to exist in the shadow of the NSKK (National Socialist Motor Corps). A DDAC appeal described the 1934 international Automobile Exhibition as a "show for the people" rather than an "exhibition for the more affluent bourgeois segment" of society. "Motoring for the people" (Volkskraftfahrt), it proclaimed, was more "in the spirit of the Führer".[6]

After business activities resumed in 1946, roadside assistance was revived in 1954 under the name ADAC-Straßenwacht ("road patrol"). In 1954, Heinz Frölich became the first of 56 ADAC patrolmen equipped with a motorcycle and sidecar,[7] the latter of which had a large compartment filled with tools and parts for roadside repairs. These original "Gelber Engel" ("Yellow Angels") used NSU Konsul motorcycles.[8] At the end of 1962, ADAC announced the retirement of their motorbike-sidecar combinations, which would be replaced by 40 appropriately equipped Volkswagen Beetles.[9] Equipment on the new cars included a flashing roof light, repair tools, a radio communication device, compressed air canisters, a spade and broom set, and a basic "doctor kit" incorporating blood plasma.[9]

In 1974, the organisation had 3.8 million members at a time when there were 19.0 million passenger cars registered in Germany. By 1990, membership had risen to 10.2 million, with 35.5 million passenger cars registered in the country, so ADAC membership grew more than twice as fast as national car ownership.[10] Growth rates during the ensuing twenty years were greatly boosted by German reunification.

In May 2012, the organisation welcomed its 18 millionth member,[11] and in May 2013, the ADAC fitted out its 10,000th roadside assistance vehicle, a Volkswagen Touran, with several hundred different tools and replacement parts.[12]

In 1997, ADAC opened its new technical centre in Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria.

In 2003, ADAC voiced criticism of the supervised driving at age 17 pilot program in Lower Saxony and celebrated its 100th anniversary.

In 2007, the ADAC Stiftung "Gelber Engel" foundation was established. This foundation financially supports survivors of road accidents and funds accident rescue and accident research initiatives and institutions. The ADAC Stiftung "Gelber Engel" ("ADAC 'Yellow Angel' Foundation") has supported victims of road accidents since 2007. In September 2013, that foundation was registered as a gGmbH (a non-profit company).[citation needed]

At the end of 2019, ADAC had 21.2 million members.[13]


According to its article of association, the ADAC's responsibilities lie in the "representation, promotion and advocacy of motoring, motorsport [...] interests" and is dedicated to road traffic, road safety, road safety education, tourism, and the protection of road users' rights. The ADAC has been working closely with its Austrian counterpart, Österreichischer Automobil-, Motorrad- und Touring Club (ÖAMTC), and is one of 78 select associations and federations in Germany eligible to file model declaratory actions (Musterfeststellungsklage).[14]

Roadside assistance[edit]

The primary service provided by ADAC has been roadside assistance. The ADAC road patrol dates back to 1928, when the ADAC-Straßen-Hilfsdienst (ADAC Roadside Assistance Service) was established. Back then, the patrols used sidecar motorcycles. During World War II ADAC was forced to stop operations. In 1951, the ADAC started to organise assistance outside Germany. In 1954 breakdown assistance services were resumed by establishing the ADAC Straßenwacht. In 1990, the road patrol started covering the New Länder.[15]

As of 2007, the ADAC operated a fleet of more than 1,700 yellow road patrol vehicles, nicknamed "Yellow Angels". In the 1960s and 1970s, the yellow Volkswagen Beetles were a fixture on German roads. In 2007, the ADAC deployed MPVs, each carrying a myriad of tools, small parts, and replacement batteries.[16] As of 2020, in the case of a car breakdown, members could request assistance over the phone, over the internet, or via a smartphone app. The patrol driver, sent by a dispatcher, then calls the member several minutes before arrival.[17]

ADAC has also provided Europe-wide breakdown assistance for HGVs. In Germany, ADAC has used special breakdown assistance vehicles for HGVs. In other European countries, ADAC partners provide assistance.[citation needed]

In 2021, road patrols and ADAC mobility partners were dispatched in 3.5 million cases. In keeping with the previous years, the breakdowns were usually due to problems with the battery.[18]

Air rescue and medical services[edit]

As of 2020, the ADAC operated 55 air ambulance helicopters[19] for urgent medical rescues in Germany, strategically placed so that any location can be reached within 15 minutes. Air ambulance jets are used by the ADAC to serve "Plus" members or ADAC international travel insurance customers from any location worldwide in the case of an accident or extreme illness. The ADAC also offers membership to non-German residents, having signed contracts with automobile clubs worldwide. In the UK, it is possible to have breakdown recovery through the local AA while having an ADAC membership.[citation needed]

As of 2022 ADAC Luftrettung ("Air Rescue") gGmbH is the largest civilian rotor-wing air medical organisation in Germany, followed by DRF Luftrettung.[19]

In an extension of its helicopter ambulance operations, the ADAC holds shares in Aero-Dienst, which enables it to operate a small fleet of fixed-wing ambulance aircraft for mid-range medical repatriation.[20]

Other services[edit]

As of January 2019, ADAC members could call for assistance when they had locked themselves out of their homes. This was a pilot project running in the urban areas of Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg.[citation needed]

The ADAC ridesharing club (Mitfahrclub) is a platform for ridesharing.[citation needed]


The ADAC offers a variety of tourism and travel-related information for motorcyclists and drivers of historic vehicles.[citation needed]

In the course of German reunification, ADAC joined forces with the conservancy Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald ("Alliance for the Protection of German Forests") and the German tourism association Deutscher Tourismusverband to have the 2,500 kilometres Deutsche Alleenstraße tree-lined holiday route running the length of Germany designated as such.[citation needed]

Testing and technical services[edit]

The ADAC established its own technical centre at Landsberg am Lech near Munich in 1997. Technical tests regularly include cars, tyres, child restraint systems, pedelecs, safety helmets, and accessories such as roof boxes. New products and technologies are tested as soon as they become available. The German Federal Motor Transport Authority recognised the facility as compliant with the DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard. The testing operations are certified to ISO 9001:2015.[citation needed]


The ADAC has been an active member of the European Road Assessment Program (EuroRAP) in Germany.[21] The ADAC regularly publishes maps showing safety characteristics of German roads.[22] These maps, based on EuroRAP's Road Protection Score Protocol (or Star Rating Protocol), are a measure of how well a road protects road users in the event of an accident. Data on road characteristics is gathered by driving through road inspections using a specially equipped inspection vehicle. Assessors then produce a safety star rating, which is comparable across Europe.[23]

The ADAC has also undertaken road inspections on behalf of other EuroRAP members, including the Road Safety Foundation in the UK.[24]


Both the ADAC and its older competitor Automobilclub von Deutschland (AvD; the organizer of the German Grand Prix), have been members of the FIA and the DMSB. The European Grand Prix, the former ADAC Eifelrennen, the 24 Hours Nürburgring and many other races have been hosted by ADAC.[citation needed]

In June 2008, the ADAC suspended its involvement with the FIA over the scandal surrounding Max Mosley and his subsequent retention as FIA president.[25]

ADAC Stiftung Sport[edit]

ADAC Stiftung Sport is a foundation set up in 1998 to promote and support German racing talent. Young racers showing potential are offered the opportunity to benefit from the support of experts and partners of the foundation. In addition to material backing, grantees are also eligible to benefit from training and coaching in many fields. In addition, the foundation also devotes funds to increasing motorsport safety and supporting non-professional racers injured in accidents.[citation needed]

Public relations[edit]

ADAC is among Germany's most influential associations and one of the biggest lobbying associations worldwide. Public relations activities focus on topics such as maintaining motorised mobility, traffic laws and fines, and road safety education. In recent years, ADAC has developed a growing interest in other transport operators and modes, for instance, by conducting tests on local public transport and urban cycling.[citation needed]

The ADAC publishes ADAC Motorwelt, one of the largest magazines in Germany.[26][27] The magazine is distributed four times a year to ADAC members, and features articles of common interest to all participants of public traffic, such as product tests, safe driving tips, and places to visit by car or motorcycle.[28][29] Since 2020, ADAC Motorwelt has been available to membership card holders at local ADAC offices, travel agencies, and driver safety locations, as well as Edeka and Netto supermarkets.[30]

Road safety advocacy[edit]

In 2006, ADAC published a series of critical press releases on the issue of "driving licence shopping" – getting a driving license in another country after having one's licence revoked in their home country – and advocated the speedy harmonisation of driver licensing in Europe.[citation needed]

Some ADAC positions are controversial, questioning the benefit for road safety of some planned measures or rather implying the opposite. As of 2010, the club had argued its opposition to a general speed limit on German motorways by citing the finding that statistically, motorways were already the safest roads in Germany in terms of accidents, and that a speed limit would not significantly reduce the severity of accidents.[31] In 2021, supporters of a speed limit, such as the Verkehrsclub Deutschland e. V. [de], argued that the measure would indeed reduce the risk and the severity of accidents, and would help avoid motorway fatalities and severe injuries to the order of hundreds.[32] In 2020, the ADAC was quoted as no longer principally opposing Autobahn speed limits and said to have ceased making recommendations to policymakers on the issue.[33]

As of 2009, the European Campaign for Safe Road Design was a partnership between 28 major European road safety stakeholders that called for the European Commission to invest in safe road infrastructure initiatives.[34] ADAC is the campaign's partner in Germany.


In 2016, ADAC restructured its organisation, implementing a 3-pillar structure comprising an association (ADAC e.V.), a societas Europaea (ADAC SE) and a foundation (ADAC Stiftung). This structure was adopted by the vote of 200 delegates during a General Assembly in late 2014, and finalised in detail in 2015. At the 2016 ADAC General Assembly in Lübeck, the delegates agreed to the reorganised structure. This structure was fully implemented by early 2017.[35]

ADAC e.V. provides core membership benefits. The ADAC e.V. Executive Board is the remunerated executive body responsible for the club's management.[36]

Commercial activities have been devolved to ADAC SE, an autonomous public company limited by shares that is separate from the association. ADAC e.V. held[when?] a 57.74% majority of ADAC SE shares. Other shareholders included the ADAC foundation (25.10%) and, via private equity companies, several ADAC regional clubs (17.16%).[citation needed] The ADAC foundation has pooled ADAC's charitable and public benefit activities such as the promotion and support of rescue in life-threatening situations, accident prevention, scholarship & research, education, and charity.[citation needed]

General Assembly[edit]

The ADAC General Assembly convenes annually. Every four years, it elects the members of the ADAC Committee. The General Assembly is composed of the delegates of the regional clubs, the members of the ADAC Administrative Council, and an ADAC Committee. One delegate represents 100,000 regional club members (or a fraction thereof). By unanimous vote, the Committee may bestow honorary membership on persons from Germany or abroad in recognition of special merits in the cause of motoring. They enjoy the same rights and privileges as regular members.[citation needed]

In December 2014, August Markl was elected ADAC President. [citation needed] In May 2019 Over 200 delegates at the General Assembly at the Nürburgring elected Ulrich Klaus Becker as Vice President, Karsten Schulze as Technical Services President, Gerhard Hillebrand as Transport President, and Jens Kuhfuß as Finance President. With President August Markl, ADAC Sport President Hermann Tomczyk, and Tourism President Kurt Heinen, they formed the newly constituted seven-strong ADAC Committee. The term of office of the Committee members is four years, with re-elections allowed. Committee meetings are attended by the Chief Legal Advisor.[citation needed]

In November 2019, the General Assembly in Munich adopted a new Premium membership, adding numerous features to the existing Plus membership, adjusted membership fees for the available tiers. It adopted generally amended Articles of Association to better differentiate between the club's executive and advisory bodies and convey a clear assignment of responsibilities.[citation needed]

In 2021, the General Assembly elected Christian Reinicke as ADAC President, Gerd Ennser as ADAC Sport President, and Karlheinz Jungbeck as ADAC Tourism President.[37][38]

ADAC Administrative Council[edit]

The ADAC Administrative Council is composed of the members of the Committee and the 18 chairmen of the Regional Clubs (or their deputies in the Regional Club Boards). Decisions of the Administrative Council are binding towards all Regional Clubs.[citation needed]


The ADAC is affiliated with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, the international automobile federation,[39] the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens, the international historic vehicles federation,[40] Euro NCAP, a crash test consortium,[41] Pro Mobilität, a Berlin-based lobbying organisation promoting the expansion and maintenance of the road network,[42] the European Movement Germany network[43] and EuropeNet24, a Europe-wide breakdown assistance network for large goods vehicles.[44]

Financial reports[edit]

In 2014 the club had a yield of €911 million (profit €25 million) and the ADAC holding company ADAC Beteiligungs- und Wirtschaftsdienst GmbH had a yield of €1,004 million (profit €84.9 million).[citation needed] For the fiscal year 2019, ADAC e.V.'s earnings year from membership stood at €10.1 million. Including financial and holdings earnings, the club's annual result was €43.7 million. In addition to the dividend paid out by ADAC SE, the legal entity reuniting all ADAC commercial activities, continuous membership growth, and an efficiency program positively impacted the annual result.[citation needed] In 2019, ADAC e.V.'s income from membership fees and the co-financing of membership benefits grew by €22.6 million from the previous year to reach €836.3 million. As in previous years, the bulk of this income (€631 million) was spent on assistance services. At the end of 2020, ADAC e.V. had 20.2 million members.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Der ADAC im Überblick | ADAC e. V." (in German). Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Deutschlands größter Verein ADAC verliert Mitglieder". Automobilwoche.de. 5 March 2021. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  3. ^ ADAC Articles of Association (PDF; 193.16 kB). In: Impressum (Legal notice)| ADAC e.V. Retrieved July 21, 2020/scroll down for English version of the Articles of Association.
  4. ^ Schelling, Jürgen (26 November 2020). "Schweben für das Leben: ADAC-Luftrettung mit Helikopter". FAZ.NET (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  5. ^ "Altes vom Auto: Meldungen aus 125 Jahren:Tops und Flops (a summary of the highlights and lowlights of the first 125 years of motoring history)". Auto Motor u. Sport. Heft. 4: 16. 27 January 2011.
  6. ^ Till Bastian: Das Jahrhundert des Todes (The century of death). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2000, ISBN 3-525-01457-0, p. 101 (online)
  7. ^ "Engel Heinz am Start". ADAC Motorwelt. 2: 10. February 2014.
  8. ^ "Die Geschichte des ADAC | ADAC". www.adac.de (in German). Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Vor 40 Jahren: Die Kaefer kommen - Strassenwacht auf vier Raedern". Auto, Motor und Sport. 2003. 1: 162. 23 December 2002.
  10. ^ "60 Jahre BRD". ADAC Motorwelt. 6: 38–42. June 2009.
  11. ^ "Glueckwunsch zum Achtzehnten: Der ADAC wird zwar nicht volljaehrig, hat aber trotzdem allen Grund zu feiern: Mit SJ begruesst der club sein 18-Millionstes Mitglied. Sie darf nun...". ADAC Motorwelt. 2012. 5: 84–86. May 2012.
  12. ^ "10 000 Autos fuer die Gelben Engel: Seit 1954 bekommt jedes Strassenwachtfahrzeug eine Nummer - von 1 bis 10 ,,,...". ADAC Motorwelt. 2013. 5: 42–44. May 2013.
  13. ^ "ADAC wächst 2019 weiter: Mehr als 21 Millionen Mitglieder". www.adac.de (in German). Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Verbraucherzentrale wirft VW Betrug vor". n-tv.de (in German). Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Pannen- & Unfallhilfe". www.adac.de (in German). Retrieved 4 March 2023.
  16. ^ lifePR (c) 2002-2020 (30 June 2007). "10 Jahre ADAC Technik-Zentrum Landsberg, Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V (ADAC e.V.), Pressemitteilung - lifePR". www.lifepr.de (in German). Retrieved 9 April 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ "ADAC Pannenhilfe". ADAC (in German). Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  18. ^ ADAC website [dead link]
  19. ^ a b "ADAC Luftrettung". ADAC Luftrettung (in German). Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Über den Ambulanz-Service". ADAC (in German). Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  21. ^ "EuroRAP Partners". EuroRAP. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  22. ^ "Star Rating Maps Germany". EuroRAP. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  23. ^ "What is Star Rating?". EuroRAP. Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  24. ^ "RPS Fleet". EuroRAP. Archived from the original on 28 June 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  25. ^ "Mosley stays on as FIA president". BBC News. 3 June 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  26. ^ Karl Koch (2014). "The West German Media". In Karl Koch (ed.). West Germany Today (RLE: German Politics). London; New York: Routledge. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-317-53649-9.
  27. ^ Sabine von Dirke (2013). "Alternative culture". In John Sandford (ed.). Encyclopedia of Contemporary German Culture. London; New York: Routledge. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-136-81610-9.
  28. ^ "ADAC Motorwelt bei BCN | Burda Community Network". BCN (in German). Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  29. ^ "ADAC Motorwelt bei BCN | Burda Community Network". BCN (in German). Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  30. ^ "Die Motorwelt 2020: Das neue Clubmagazin". www.adac.de (in German). Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  31. ^ "Autobahn-Temporegelung". Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2010. German:Der ADAC hält ein allgemeines Tempolimit auf Autobahnen für nicht erforderlich... Ein Zusammenhang zwischen generellem Tempolimit und dem Sicherheitsniveau auf Autobahnen ist nicht feststellbar. Die Zahl der Getöteten auf Autobahnen pro einer Milliarde Fahrzeugkilometer liegt in Deutschland bei 2,2, mit fallender Tendenz. Zahlreiche Länder mit genereller Geschwindigkeitsbeschränkung schneiden schlechter ab, z.B. Dänemark, Belgien, Österreich, USA. In Österreich, wo ein generelles Tempolimit von 130 km/h gilt, ist die Getötetenrate auf Autobahnen etwa 1,5-mal höher als in Deutschland. English: ADAC holds a general speed limit on motorways to be unnecessary... A connection between general speed limit on highways and safety is undetectable. The number of deaths on motorways per 1 billion vehicle-kilometers in Germany is 2.2 with a falling trend. Many countries fare worse with a general speed limit than Germany (e.g. Denmark, Belgium, Austria, USA). In Austria, where speed is generally 130, the death rate on motorways is about 1.5 times higher, Press Release, June 2010.
  32. ^ "Tempolimit auf Autobahnen". www.vcd.org (in German). Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  33. ^ "ADAC sperrt sich nicht mehr gegen Tempolimit auf Autobahnen". www.zeit.de. 24 January 2020. Archived from the original on 24 January 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  34. ^ "About the campaign". European Campaign for Safe Road Design. Archived from the original on 22 January 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  35. ^ "Der ADAC". ADAC (in German). Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  36. ^ "Das Management des ADAC e.V." ADAC (in German). Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  37. ^ "Christian Reinicke zum ADAC Präsidenten gewählt". presse.adac.de. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  38. ^ "Das Präsidium des ADAC e.V." www.adac.de (in German). 23 April 2021. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  39. ^ "Members". Federation Internationale de l'Automobile. Retrieved 2 June 2023.
  40. ^ "Internationale Zusammenarbeit | ADAC e.V." www.adac.de (in German). Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  41. ^ "Euro NCAP - Members and Test Facilities | Euro NCAP". www.euroncap.com. Retrieved 2 June 2023.
  42. ^ "Mitglieder 2023". Pro Mobilität (in German). Retrieved 2 June 2023.
  43. ^ "ADAC e.V. | Büro Berlin | Netzwerk EBD" (in German). Retrieved 2 June 2023.
  44. ^ "Network – Europenet24". Retrieved 2 June 2023.
  45. ^ "ADAC e.V.: Das Geschäftsjahr 2020". ADAC (in German). Retrieved 19 April 2022.

External links[edit]