Whenever you think of Mercedes, BMW, or Audi, you think of a well-built luxury car. All of these cars come from German companies. Less than a century ago, Germany was defeated in World War One. They were forced to pay reparations to other countries because they were blamed for starting World War One. It led to a lot of debt and hyperinflation.
As a result, money became worthless. People played around with cash in the streets. So Germany was in huge trouble. Some company sectors like automobiles/cars changed Germany’s economic system and became famous worldwide.
Not long ago, a measure of a good car was all about how reliable it is. The primary purpose is to take you from point A to point B. No doubt German cars led this period. They were overengineered and have the prestige of being a good car nowadays because they excelled at providing you reliable transportation from point A to point B for a long time. But what happened? Why are German cars so good in this modern competitive era?
Many modern cars will take you places fine to be considered good. Now people are concerned about what features a car offers. When people say German cars are unreliable, they are wrong. If you ask 100 people, they’ll all tell you different answers. It all depends on the specific ear and the model, no matter the brand. The best thing to do is not to buy the newest model, which buys you time to research before making any purchasing decisions.
Why are German cars so good?
The German car industry at the moment is the largest in Germany. It turned over €361 billion in 2013 alone. That’s one-fifth of the whole industry revenue. For a while, Germany has been the largest car producer in Europe. In manufacturers, over 30% of all the cars are produced in the EU, and the global spread of German cars can be seen in every five cars.
Germany makes the best cars in the world, including:
- German cars make the best sound in the world. All the parts fit together perfectly and work like a German watch.
- All German cars are designed beautifully and are unique.
- German cars are the fastest cars in the world.
The German car industry is very good at what it does. But you might also say look at Britain’s car industry, for example. We’re good at making cars. But there’s quite a misconception that Britain is not the automotive power it once was and what people think of it. When you think about a British car, you think about Aston Martin, James Bond, etc. A foreign bank consortium owns Aston Martin. It’s not purely British Bentley. Volkswagen, a German car company, owns it! BMW owns Rolls-Royce.
There’s not a single purely British mass-market car manufacturer in existence. So if we look at the example of Britain, we can see that what Germany has done is quite an achievement. Mercedes, Audi, BMW, and Porsche are still locally owned companies. So how is it that Germany has thrived so much in the automotive industry? There are three critical factors to this:
- The first significant factor is innovation itself.
- Secondly, there’s manufacturing.
- Thirdly the education system in Germany.
German engineers prioritize performance, safety, and innovation in their vehicle designs, resulting in cars that offer exceptional driving dynamics and cutting-edge technology. Germany does well in it avoids brain drain. Brain drain is what happens in many countries in the world. Let’s take the example of Nigeria. Nigeria is a relatively well-developed country. But in comparison to countries like the USA or the UK, it’s not that attractive a prospect for young people who are university educated. As a result, they will move to other countries from Nigeria.
So, Nigeria will be experiencing a brain drain in its young talents. Its skilled academics will be moving to other countries to seek better work and life there. Germany is good at this in that it pays good wages.
The quality of living in Germany is good. It’s an advanced country. In general, the fact that German brands are among some of the best in the world of cars keeps a lot of homegrown German talent in the country. What German companies are also good at is attracting talent from abroad.
So, they run foreign programs to try and find the best engineers and designers, and they will pay for them to come over for internships or jobs. It suits Germany because they get the best talent in their own country and worldwide.
The collection of talent in Germany ensures that constant innovation and new designs are coming out to ensure that German cars are among the best.
German car manufacturers have a strong focus on performance-oriented vehicles. Many German brands, such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche, are renowned for producing high-performance cars with powerful engines, precise handling, and exhilarating driving experiences.
The worker’s relationship with the bosses is more reciprocal in Germany and many European countries. It’s a two-way relationship where both sides listen to each other, and there’s not necessarily such a large inferiority complex as you see in American or British factories. Workers are given more chances to participate in the production line.
For example, every factory and the executive committee has a selection of worker representatives. So this means that decisions made in the factory are not purely based on numbers, statistics, costs, and benefits.
- The workers have a voice, have representation, and the factory line can run more smoothly.
At the end of the day, the workers work on the factory line and are likely to know more about the whole process than management. Generally, the workers are treated well.
In 2011, auto workers in Germany were, on average, paid roughly twice as much as those in the US. It comes into a formula that fair pay plus good working conditions equal loyal workers.
- Loyalty is quite an essential aspect of the German manufacturing process.
Unlike in the US and the UK, workers in factories change jobs. Quite often in Germany, there’s not this phenomenon of job-hopping.
- A German factory worker will stay at the factory for a very long time, ensuring that the worker knows the processes inside out and gets skilled in one job.
There’s also means that the factories can invest more in long-term training for their workers, making a more efficient and productive factory line.
German education system
There’s an early specialization in Germany, and vocational courses are appreciated and respected far more in Germany than here. Unfortunately, there’s quite a misconception about vocational courses: Those who do and follow vocational courses are generally not as skilled or intelligent as those who continue further education. But vocational courses ensure that talent is allocated where it is best suited.
So not everyone is that good at studies. Not everyone is going to be suited to do degrees in universities. Some people are better at practical activities and vocational courses. Allow those people with better practical skills to be used in a way that will benefit everyone.
- The vocational courses in Germany ensure no shortage of skilled workers for manufacturers such as BMW.
It means that the production lines are smooth, quick, and efficient. Everyone must study a bit more detail on the education system for at least nine years. It’s nine years for the vocational students and 10 for the academic students who hope to attend university.
- The German system ensures that people use their time wisely, learning skills that are helpful in their future careers. Also, those better at practical skills are nurtured early rather than forced through the same education system as everyone else.
German cars are known for their high-quality craftsmanship. German manufacturers pay meticulous attention to detail and use premium materials in their interiors, resulting in luxurious and well-finished cabins. The fit and finish of German cars are exemplary, contributing to a sense of quality and durability.
Focus on Safety
German car manufacturers prioritize safety and invest in extensive safety research and development. They incorporate advanced safety features and technologies, such as robust chassis designs, braking systems, and comprehensive airbag systems. German cars perform well in safety tests and are engineered to provide occupant protection.
Strong Performance Heritage
Germany has a rich automotive history, with a legacy of iconic and successful car brands. This heritage and legacy have contributed to a culture of automotive excellence, where German manufacturers strive to maintain their reputation for producing high-quality cars.
So innovation, manufacturing, and the education system are the three contributors that help Germany to produce excellent and reliable cars. It’s exciting how they combine to create a very efficient, productive automotive industry for Germany.
Also, it would be fascinating to see whether Britain and other countries could adopt similar economic and social practices. But hopefully, that’s informed you about what makes German cars different. What makes the automotive industry in Germany so efficient? There’s quite a similar system in Japan.
Learn more similar topics:
Georgano, Nick (Ed.). The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000. ISBN 1-57958-293-1 (Cars in Las Vegas)
Germany – The World’s Automotive Hub of Innovation, Germany Trade & Invest, Ernst & Young European Automotive Survey.
Total Cars Produced In The World. Data source is from Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (“OICA”).
Abelshauser, Werner. The Dynamics of German Industry: Germany’s Path Toward the New Economy and the American Challenge. Germany: Berghahn Books.
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