German car making is nearly as old as the state itself and woven into the national fabric. It fuelled the country’s innovative zeal during its ‘second’ Industrial Revolution at the end of the 19th century. It was a crucial pillar of Hitler’s social and economic vision for Nazi Germany. The lack of automotive desirability made East Germans yearn for more while its presence restored West German confidence. And now? What is Germany’s mighty car industry falling behind in the race for Green mobility? And if so, what does this mean for the nation’s economy and its psyche?
I left my VW Polo at home, hopped on a train and made by way to Central London where I met the legendary car journalist and TV presenter James May in London to discuss what made German cars so ‘nice’, what they mean to people in Germany and around the world and where he thinks this is all headed. A history enthusiast as well as a car man, James is ideally placed to give us a whistle-stop tour of German cars from Benz and Beetle to Trabant and TT. Enjoy!
ZEITGEIST is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.