The head of Germany's main auto club says he's stepping down after weeks of pressure that built up after it emerged that the organization manipulated a poll on the country's favorite car.

ADAC president Peter Meyer said in a statement Monday that the "attacks and defamation" of him were harmful to both the auto club and his family.

He also says he does not want to be "held responsible any longer for the mistakes and manipulations of high-ranking executives."

ADAC, which boasts 18 million members, acknowledged last month it inflated the number of participants in its favorite-car poll but said that hadn't changed the fact that the VW Golf was the winner.

Since then, it has faced allegations of inappropriate use of its helicopters and medical evacuation aircraft.