“Appearance and reality”
Almost no other country hosts as many important car manufacturers side-by-side as Germany and, with about 800,000 employees nationwide, the industry “has an invaluable social responsibility”, Thomas Fromm writes in a commentary for Süddeutsche Zeitung. In order to stand out from their national competitors, German car brands have long sought to promote their uniqueness and “sell emotions alongside steel sheets and horsepower”, Fromm argues. “One has to bear in mind this strategy of distinction to comprehend why the latest allegations over forming a cartel strike the industry at its core,” he writes. If Germany’s most important carmakers have colluded to fix technology and costs since the 1990s, “they not only would have fooled their customers. They would also have ridiculed their precious brand-claims and thereby their company’s identity as well”.
Read the commentary in German here.