In 1870, when Nikolaus Otto and his partner Karl Benz independently developed their internal combustion engines, which were four-stroke at the time, Germany was placed on the map as the birthplace of modern autos and the history of German Automobiles had begun. During the latter part of 1870, Karl Benz began experimenting with their engine design and some how ended up attaching it to a couch. This would forever be the genesis of today’s modern automobiles. And by 1901, the country of Germany produced roughly 900 autos per year.
Robert A. Brady, an American economist, documented extensively Germanys rationalization movement which helped to mold their industry’s focus during the 1920s. While Bradys general theories about this movement were applicable to Germanys auto industry, the Weimar Republic in its latter years saw the industry in declining health. And because of Germany being extremely reticent when trying to develop its automotive industry, they opened the floodgates for American automobile manufacturers like General Motors who bought out German automaker Opel and Ford Motor Company who possessed a very successful subsidiary in Germany.
However, the German automobile industry tumbled as the worlds economy folded during the late 1920s and early 1930s when the Great Depression raged on. This was a sad day indeed for the history of German automobiles. After the Great Depression had subsided, only twelve automakers in Germany survived. That small group included Opel, Fords Cologne factory and Daimler-Benz of out of an astonishing total of 86 automobile companies operating before the Depression. Also, four of Germanys top auto manufacturers-Dampf Kraft Wagen, Horch, Audi and Wanderer-came together in a joint venture to form the Auto Union. This Union would play a significant part to lead Germany back from their troubles with the depression.
In 1930, when the Nazi Party came to power, a significant change came about for Germanys auto industry and for the history of German automobiles. Motorisierung, a policy instituted by the Nazi Party, was a policy about transportation that Adolf Hitler himself believed to be a key part of his attempt to raise his citizens living standards in order to make the Nazi Party seem more legitimate to them. The Nazis began work on highway schemes while at the same time undertaking the Volkswagen project in order to build and design the inexpensive yet robust peoples car.”
As of today, Germanys auto industry is one of its top employers, featuring a total labor pool of roughly 866,000 workers. Additionally, the country boasts of having the biggest percentage of automobile production in all of Europe with a 29% share of the market, next is France with 18%, Spain with 13% and finally the United Kingdom with a 9% share of the market.
There are currently six major German companies which are dominating the automobile industry there: BMW, Porsche, VW, Opel (General Motors owns them), Audi (part of the Volkswagen Group) and Daimler AG. Roughly six million new vehicles are produced each year in Germany whilst around 4.8 million vehicles are produced each year by German brands overseas. Along with the top two auto manufacturers Japan and the United States, the country of Germany is number three on the list of top auto manufacturers around the world.