Thursday, May 29, 2008


BMW MAKES Rolls-Royces; Bentley is the exclusive property of Volkswagen; and in case you weren’t paying attention, the name ain’t Chrysler anymore, it’s DaimlerChrysler. German companies make some of the world’s finest cars, and now they’re applying their expertise to brands around the globe. The secret to their success is product: Continuous research and development has guaranteed a steady stream of safe, exiting, ever faster cars at both ends of the marketplace, researching new heights in cost and luxury and new lows in size and price. Who could have predicted, for example, a twelve-cylinder Volkswagen or an economy-class Porsche?
Well, the German could. Which is precisely why they’re thriving. Last year Volkswagen sold nearly half a million cars in North America—nine times what it sold one year in the dismal early ‘90s—while Mercedes and BMW each broke sales records in the States. They’ll all sell even more in 2008, with a slew of recently purchased brands to pitch to America’s car-loving millionaires: the aforementioned Bentley and Rolls, VW’s Lamborghini and Bugatti and Mercedes’s revivified Maybach. But before they beat he world, they have to first beat one another, and herein lies the joy. As a German companies goad one another to new heights, it is the consumer who has all the fun.

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