As much as we Americans would like to suggest otherwise, when people around the world think cars, they will first think of Germany. Japan and the United States both give some strong competition, and Italy and England provide some luxury specialty cars, but one country stands above the rest. Here is how Germany managed to be the car capital of the world.

They started it all. In 1879, a German man named Karl Benz patented the first internal combustion engine. Without this invention, the various models people had been tinkering with for road vehicles (using steam, for example) wouldn’t have launched us to where we are today. A few years later, Benz also built what is considered the first car. These two patents put Germany on the map as where it all began.

Tradition. This is connected to the last one, but out of Karl Benz’s invention, came a car company that is still around today – Mercedes-Benz. To have a company with this long of a tradition that is still producing excellence is quite impressive. The other companies that have popped up since then have had to make a name for themselves while competing with the original gold standard of the car industry.

Speed. Even if we can’t often legally use it, we like to know our vehicles are capable of smoking every other car on the road. Well, the Germans design cars not just to look fast, but to be able to be safely driven at very high speeds. The German highway system often has no required speed limit, which allows drivers to use their horsepower. Cars there need to be able to perform at these top speeds, and German cars do.
Precision Engineering. German cars are built by highly professional engineers that choose a vocational track before they even complete their equivalent of high school. Manufacturing is a respected field in the country, and the people take pride in the craftsmanship their car brands have built a reputation for.

Marketing. In the end, even with a great product, a lot of how we view cars comes down to successful marketing. Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche all have very positive associations in the public’s mind, not just because they are high-quality vehicles, but also because they have very successful marketing campaigns. Even after two world wars against the Germans, during which Volkswagen helped fuel their war machine, VW was able to convince Americans, only a couple decades later, that they were the peace and love company of the VW Bus and Love Bug. Now that’s good marketing.

So, if you’re wondering why Germany is seen as the king of cars, just remember these points. From the very beginning, they’ve been producing excellence and innovating the cars of the future.