German | French

The German automobile industry is regarded as the most competitive and innovative in the world and is considered to be the birthplace of the automobile since Karl Benz and Nikolaus Otto independently developed four-stroke internal combustion engines in the late 1870s. 

Germany has been the absolute leader of auto production in Europe since the 1960s and is currently the3rd-largest automobile producer in the world. It is also one of the largest employers in the world, with a labor force of over 850,000.

Currently, five companies dominate the industry in Germany: Volkswagen  (including Audi and Porsche), BMW (including Mini), Daimler (including Mercedes-Benz and Smart Car), Opel (including GM Europe) and Ford-Werke.

German cars have won in the“ European Car of the Year”, the “International Car of the Year”, and the “World Car of the Year” annual awards the most times among all countries. The Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche 911 took 4th and 5th places in the “Car of the Century” award. 

Electric powertrain technology was invented and developed first and foremost by the former German Opel engineer Frank Weber. Some of the most important parts of the development of GM’s electric vehicles are still done in Germany. 

France was a pioneer in the automotive industry. Starting in the late 1700’s, European engineers began tinkering with motor powered vehicles but it wasn’t until 1890 that automotive production on a commercial scale started in France.

 France is the 11th-largest automobile manufacturer in the world and the 3rd-largest in Europe (after Germany and Spain). France is home to two major auto making companies – PSA Group  (owner of Peugeot, Citroen, DS and Opel/Vauxhall) and the Renault Group (owner of Renault, Alpine, Dacia of Romania and Samsung Motors – also owns 43% of Nissan) 

French cars have also won the “European Car of the Year” and “World Car of the Year “awards numerous times. The Citroën DS took 3rd place in “Car of the Century” award and has been named the most beautiful car of all time by “Classic & Sports Car Magazine”.