Das Auto: The Germans, Their Cars and Us

Genre: Documentary
60 min

of faith in technology,

and there's no-one who's got that

more correct and more powerful

and made it more articulate

than the German motor industry.


The first car I ever bought didn't

come from an iconic British factory

like Cowley or Longbridge,

but from the German heartland

of Lower Saxony.

Welcome to Wolfsburg,

the home of Volkswagen -

a factory the size of Gibraltar.

VW has come an awfully long way

since it was set up in 1937

under the Nazis,

to build "people's cars" -

Volkswagen for Germany's masses.

Here in Wolfsburg, they've even

set up this "Autostadt" -

a theme park dedicated to the car,

visited by more than

two million people every year.

It's a temple not just

to the automobile

but to the technological glamour

of German modernity

and to the success of

Germany's economic model.

With its gleaming,

futuristic towers,

this "Car City" is

German capitalism incarnate.

And as VW's steely

commander-in-chief puts it,

they want to leave their stamp

on every country on earth.

We have a clear

strategy called "Strategy 2018".

In the year 2018, we want to

become the world's number one.

The number one in volume,

with more than ten million cars,

the number one in

customer satisfaction,

the number one in

employee satisfaction

even the number one in making money.

Under the generalship

of Herr Winterkorn,

VW are inching ever

closer to their goal.

Last year they made a record

profit - a cool 9.7 billion.

But the irony is that just as the

Mini has now become a German story -

so Volkswagen's post-war success

began as a British story

and its hero was the most

unlikely person imaginable.

His name was Ivan Hirst

and he was a major

in the Royal Electrical

and Mechanical Engineers.

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Dominic Sandbrook

Dominic Christopher Sandbrook (born 2 October 1974) is a British historian, author, columnist and television presenter. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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