I have just come back from a long weekend in Berlin. The trip was amazing culturally and historically, of course, but it also was an interesting trip from an automotive point of view. Coming from a country that does have an automotive heritage, but which is quite open to driving whatever international brand offers the most incentives, it was interesting to see the national sense of pride material,ising itself in the Berliners choice of cars.
You see, in the entire trip I think I counted seeing 4 cars that weren’t produced by one of the big German car brands. You know – everything from Audi, BMW and Mercedes, right through to VW and Opel. No matter what size was required, or what purpose it was for, the German’s chose to drive cars made by their own country, in a strange yet rather apt expression of national pride over one of the nations biggest exports. They even dedicate huge city centre shopping spaces to the brands, with the poshest cars being displayed alongside the luxury clothing retailers and the Swarovski shops.
It was perhaps more interesting to see this national obsession in a city that was, quite literally, torn apart during the course of the last 50 years of the 20th Century. In many ways, it makes me wonder if their choice of cars is a way to tie themselves to a national cultural identitythat has been pretty shaky until recently. With a divided culture and the need to reunify following years of separation, a symbolic brand can be a great way to show solidarity without being too obvious about it. I thus wonder if the effect is stronger in Berlin than in other parts of Germany, as the center of such a high profile crisis.
Has anyone been to any other German cities? Is this the same there?
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