10 ways German cars rule the road

There's a perfectly good reason why the world buys cars from Germany. No one else quite measures up.

Achtung baby
Achtung baby
Anyone seeking to understand why Germany remains the economic powerhouse of Europe need only to look at the performance of its auto industry. Its flagship brands -- Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Porsche -- are all enjoying record years and forecasting even better results for 2013.

Logically, they shouldn't be doing well at all. At a time when most of the world's consumers have a case of the shorts, Germany is selling premium cars at premium prices. With gasoline at wallet-busting levels, it continues to profit from high-performance V-6 and V-8 engines. And with typical buyers squeezing into smaller cars, there is no shortage of upscale German limos -- black only, of course -- festooned with more luxury features than a first-class seat on Emirates.

So much for logic. In the first five months of this year, BMW's global sales are up 6.4%, Porsche has gained 13%, and Audi is a remarkable 14% better off.

How do the Germans do it? You could say they're smart, work hard, and have momentum on their side. But they also enjoy 10 unique advantages:


By Alex Taylor III, senior editor-at-large @FortuneMagazine - Last updated June 20 2012: 9:01 AM ET
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