With a young cousin in my family who is in love with anything car related, I figured that I had to brush up on my own car knowledge to have something to talk about with him. Since he talks a lot about German cars I figured I’d look at those and see what the Germans had done for the car industry.
Turns out they’ve done a heck of a lot, and the German automotive industry is one of the largest in the world and has a high production of cars annually. They also produce a lot of race car models such as the Audi R8 and the BMW.
It started with Karl Benz
Germany and an inventor named Karl Benz created the first modern car by creating a specialized engine before attaching it to a car’s frame several years later, calling it a Motorwagon and then further created a gas powered version. When Benz’s wife used the car and traveled 65 miles in it, the car’s sales boomed in Germany and France.
With the rise of rationalization in the auto industry, Germany was soon a powerhouse in the car industry, and in 1906 the first assembly line for German cars was created and began producing 100,000 cars in a year.
A car for the people
However, the Great Depression changed all that with only twelve of the eighty-six auto companies from the start of the Depression making it out into the post-Depression world. With the rise of the Nazi party, Germany’s auto industry was tasked with designing a car for the people in order to raise their standard of living.
It was supposed to be a family car for common people that would prove to the German people and the rest of the world that the regime was sustainable and could provide for both itself and its people without help from outside investors.
This car was the Volkswagen Beetle and it continued production after World War II and gained popularity as a car for every class of people both at home and abroad. However, the Beetle was soon replaced by the Passat style of car which sold to markets as a smaller car than what was traditionally being made.
By the time of the 1990’s and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany’s auto industry began buying factories overseas in several countries and continents to produce their own and hybrid cars in those countries.
Companies like Audi, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz all began to become more popular and sell more cars and car variations overseas and in Germany itself.
The 21st century saw the German car industry becoming an industrial powerhouse with almost 11 million cars produced every year both at home and overseas. Germany ties with the United States, China, and Japan as one of the biggest car producers in the world.
With such a rich history behind them, I now know plenty of facts that I know for sure will impress my cousin and make it so I’m the favorite person at the family reunion!