Caught between the shadows of the ongoing VW affair and the breaking news of the passing of former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Golden Steering wheel in Berlin was as festive as it was seriously sober. A round table of automobile bosses, starring His Eminence the German Verkehrsminister, marked the beginning, while the traditional rain of golden confetti was dearly missed at the end. Missing was the highest rank of Wolfsburg Staff who traditionally sat at the center of row A–the best place to be. Missing too were their fellow chief from Stuggart. The fact that none of them got an award was certainly not enough of an excuse, especially considering the Honorary Golden Steering tributed to Mr. Ratan Tata, a man and industrialist of highest rank, who of course attended the show and declared the heavy golden trophy, "the most coveted" of all the awards he had so far received.
Winner of the day was Munich, with three out of seven prizes. I was delighted to be given the honour to present the noblest of them–that is, the Goldenes Lenkrad in the Luxury-Class category for the new 7-series–to Mr. Harald Krüger, CEO of BMW Group. This was in fact Mr. Krüger’s first comeback to the stage after the unfortunate circumstances that forced him to interrupt his speech at this year’s IAA in Frankfurt. I am sure he enjoyed our performance at least as much as I did, both of us being charmed by a gorgeous Barbara Schöneberger in electric blue dress. I may not be the biggest fan of the 7-Series–I still consider the 5-Series the more balanced design. In the Design Jury, where we had the pleasure to welcome architect Hadi Teherani as a new member, the limousine scored highest ranks though. Anyway, I felt very much at ease celebrating the year’s end with BMW, after having spent more than one year working on OAL-BB 50, the monography covering 50 Years of BMW ALPINA Automobiles.