The automotive industry in Germany dates back to the end of the turn of the century. Germany ranks third among countries in terms of vehicle-production volume. The Volkswagen Group is the largest producer of German cars as the parent company of Volkswagen, Skoda, Seat, Scania, Audi, Porsche, Bugatti, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Ducati.
Even the parent company's more affordable Volkswagens are in demand because of the automaker's connection to some of the most exclusive supercars made. However, when it comes to owning a German car, it isn't the best. I always wanted a Volkswagen, but my dad told me, "German cars have electrical issues." Still, I decided to take my chances with a Volkswagen Jetta SEL, and I have to admit, my dad was right.
After purchasing my Jetta, I wanted to learn more about the automaker. So, I started doing research, and what I found was shocking. First of all, I wasn't aware when buying my car that the entire German auto industry had been very heavily influenced by Adolf Hitler, and that wasn't the most shocking reason I found to never buy a German car.
So, I've put together a list for you. If you have your heart set on a VW or any other German car, you need to read this first. I love my Jetta, and I planned on trading it in for an Audi. However, after owning my VW, I think I'll go with a Lexus instead.
20 Mechanics Are Scared to Work on Your Car
You have to take your German car to a dealership or a special mechanic when it needs repairs. A lot of mechanics are uncomfortable working on German cars. This means the mechanics who do work on German vehicles are in higher demand. Therefore, they charge more. This makes ownership of your car even more expensive.
Plus, your German car's doors aren't supposed to lock with the key anywhere in the car. However, if you have your key in a bag and you lock the door, your car will lock. This is a costly mistake because many German cars have no locking mechanism. You can't stick a jimmy stick in the window and pop the lock open. So, if you lock your keys inside, you have to tow it to a dealer to have the car opened.
19 You Become a Target of Insurance Scammers
A German car is a status symbol. It tells people you're successful and enjoy nice things. In major metropolitan areas, there are insurance scammers who look for specific people to target. When these professional scammers spot you in your German car, they practice driving maneuvers to cause an accident that's your fault. They know you likely keep your German car insured, and they want to take advantage of your hard work and responsibility. These people are very experienced. They target people in nice German cars, especially those driving higher-end makes like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes.
These scams are prevalent in Houston, TX, where I live, and in many other places, as well. In fact, you always have to look out for them. They slam on their brakes in front of you or speed up when you're crossing the street in an attempt to smash into your car so they can collect on your insurance investment.
18 Things Start Rattling After a Couple Years
As German cars age, rattling becomes a major issue. When you first buy a VW, a BMW, a Mercedes, or an Audi, the ride is quiet and enjoyable. Slowly, though, you start hearing little rattles, which become increasingly noticeable and annoying. An example is the loud vibrating high-pitched squealing noise made when I turn on the AC or the heater in my VW Jetta. There's nothing you can really do to prevent this from happening, and all German vehicles suffer this fate as they age.
Porsches are one of the worst. The stiff ride makes the rattling even worse. Several of my friends have Porsches as a second car, and every time I ride with them, I notice the rattling. The interiors are nice, but over time, they begin to feel cheaper, and you never know what part might fall off.
17 Volkswagen Is the Brainchild of Nazi Leader, Adolf Hitler
Volkswagen was one of Hitler's personal projects. In 1934, he ordered Ferdinand Porsche to design the first automobile for the new automaker. The collaboration resulted in Volkswagen's iconic VW Beetle, a best-selling model in their line for decades. Little do most owners know, they're driving the car Hitler himself created with the assistance of Porsche.
Hitler chose to name the new company "Volkswagen," which is supposed to translate to "The People's Car." In German, "volks" means "people," while the ending, "wagen," has several meanings. One is "car," but people in Germany typically say "auto," when they're talking about a car. "Wagen" is more commonly used to describe an action taken in a car, and it actually translates to "dare" in English. So, the name itself dares you to drive it.
16 The Worst Wiring Ever
Failing to heed my dad's warnings about the electrical systems in German cars resulted in me replacing more headlights, tail lights, and license-plate lights than I can count. I even drive around with an extra set of headlights in my glove box because I never know when the faulty wiring will cause a short and blow out my lights.
Furthermore, only my tweeter speakers work because there's a short, which causes my car to lose power to the amp. After less than 5 years, with under 60,000 miles on my car, the wiring is having major issues, and I'm not the only one. Reports from hundreds of owners describing very similar issues are online. Volkswagen issued a recall on my 2011 Jetta SEL because the horn, lights, and stereo were on the same fuse, which was causing major issues. The fuse was getting too hot and melting the fuse box in some cars. Owners could experience catastrophic vehicle failure as a result.
Volkswagen performed the "required fix" on my vehicle, but I'm still having issues. So, I never truly have peace of mind while I'm driving. Plus, VW changed the wiring on my stereo, yet they won't fix it now that it's not working.
15 Your Manual Refers You to the Dealership
Vehicle manuals are used to find important information necessary to perform maintenance and repairs on your car. When you look up the essential information needed to complete these tasks, like your fuse diagram, it's not given. Instead, the manual tells you to bring your car to the dealership.
So, every time a fuse blows out in your fine German car, you have to bring it to a dealership. A fuse that would cost less than 5 dollars to replace would instead force you to pay a technician's high hourly rate. Almost every maintenance item tells you to take your car to the nearest dealer and only offers vague information about accessing things and performing tasks. Plus, the manuals cover several makes and models. They're not specific to your make, model, or trim.
14 Maintenance Is More Expensive
All German vehicles require full synthetic oil changes; you can't just take your car anywhere. You have to make sure the technician knows how to work on your German vehicle. Putting in the wrong oil can destroy your engine. And many places will substitute full synthetic for synthetic blends to offset the cost and increase their profits.
Putting regular motor oil or a synthetic blend in your German car will cause the oil caskets to dissolve, resulting in major engine troubles. You can also easily overfill the oil, which can cause problems, as well. So, taking your German car to the dealer is always recommended. Deciding you'll do the job yourself or taking it anywhere but an authorized dealer might lead to a blown engine, which will cost you thousands of dollars to replace.
13 After the Warranty Expires, Everything Starts Breaking
This seems to be the case with most new vehicles. However, I've never experienced anything quite like I did with my Jetta. As soon as my warranty expired, I began having major maintenance and electrical issues. The number of issues is so ridiculous that my friend, a fellow Jetta owner, and I often refer to this as "Hitler's revenge."
There are switches that go out, which prevent the lights from working properly. The horn also stops working, and sometimes, the car will just decide not to start. Pulling up to get fuel in a bad area of town is scary. My fuel door doesn't open sometimes, and at other times, when I unlock my car, all of the passenger doors unlock, but my driver's door remains locked. I'm usually able to unlock it after locking and unlocking my doors a few times, but when my car is being very difficult, I have to unlock the doors using the lock/unlock button in the back seat.
12 People Make Fun of You Because Nothing Works in Your Ride
When someone gets in your car and none of the features your car is known for work, you may find yourself defending yourself and your crappy car with excuses like "I know my car has its faults, but it gets me where I need to go." However, others aren't as forgiving, and they're quick to point out things you haven't even noticed.
The cost of owning a German car is pretty high, so you want everything to work properly. Personally, I don't mind paying more for my vehicle and maintenance if all the features I love in my car work. Paying a monthly note, maintenance bills from the dealer, and repair bills is ridiculous. Plus, German cars are finicky. Something won't work, but as soon as you bring it to the dealer it works. Then, on the way home, everything is fine, but as soon as you get home, it stops working again.
11 A Tiny Pothole Will Pop Your Low-Profile Performance Tires
Larger rims and low-profile tires make hitting an unavoidable pothole a disaster. You can easily pop more than one tire, which is an even bigger ordeal. Luckily, you get used to driving with the lower-profile tires. After having several flats, you know you can't run over things you could run over with normal tires, and you'll adjust your driving accordingly.
Until then, you better make sure you have a good tire warranty. Performance tires are expensive. You can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $1000 or more for four new tires. Installing sport tires will cost more than most all-weather tires, and most aren't mileage rated. Furthermore, you should always make sure your tire pressure is correct to avoid blowouts if you hit something at highway speeds.
10 During WWII, BMW Controllers Supported Hitler's Third Reich
BMW, like the other major automakers in Germany, contributed to the Nazi party. The company started producing planes before changing focus to automobiles after a treaty placed restrictions on the company. So, during WWII, the company supplied the Nazi army with a fleet of vehicles and motorcycles to help the efforts of the Third Reich.
BMW's involvement in the atrocities of World War II goes far beyond supplying vehicles to the Nazi army, though. The company used prisoners of Hitler's most famous Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, to manufacture their vehicles. This isn't a conspiracy theory. The high-cost company admits to their involvement with the Nazis in WWII, but they deny supporting Adolf Hitler during that time. Hitler and Gunther Quandt, the controller of BMW during WWII, shared the same group of friends and presumably the same ideals, as the automaker welcomed the idea of cheap labor at the hands of Hitler's many victims.
9 The Volkswagen Group Admitted to Falsifying Emissions Tests
In 2015, the Volkswagen Group found itself in the middle of a major scandal. The German automaker later admitted to falsifying thousands of EPA tests on their diesel vehicles. The controversy cost Volkswagen Group when the government ordered them to implement a buyback program for all of the affected vehicles. Anyone owning one of the vehicles included in the scandal was given the opportunity to sell their vehicle back to the company and purchase a new car.
The emissions scandal proved to be bigger than anyone realized when news of the story first broke, and the deception is deep. Diesel vehicle sales increased after the Volkswagen Group's hugely successful marketing campaign claiming that diesel cars offered lower emissions. Environmentally conscious citizens in the United States and several other countries affected by the scandal purchased the vehicles because they wanted to actively take responsibility for the environment.
So, in addition to breaking the law, the Volkswagen Group lied to consumers to increase sales by telling them that driving a diesel was helping to fight pollution caused by traditional gasoline powered cars. They then passed the emissions tests by installing a program that tells the vehicles when diagnostic tests are running so the vehicle can produce better emissions ratings during testing.
8 It's Unclear How the Emissions Scandal Will Affect Resale Values
When a company falsifies legal documents, it creates uncertainty among consumers. People aren't sure how far the automaker is willing to go for profits if they're willing to openly lie to the government. This isn't a good thing for new German car owners because there's no way to know what long-term effects the scandal may have on the company.
The government required the VW Group to perform the owner buyback program to get the vehicles off the streets. The program also helped compensate vehicle owners for the depreciation of the vehicles affected. However, owners of German cars that aren't covered in the emissions scandal may still suffer as a result of the scandal. Yet, the company offers no buyback for the many other makes and models that might suffer as a result.
7 The "Bells and Whistles" Will Spoil You
Driving a German car is a feature-packed experience. The problem is you get used to using the features. Then, when the faulty wiring causes your "bells and whistles" not to work, it's really annoying. The stereo in my Jetta is a great example. Sometimes, when the wires connect, my speakers work, but at other times, I'm left with just my front two tweeter speakers. There's nothing quite like paying a monthly payment on a car without a working stereo.
The problems don't end there, though. The Bluetooth-connection feature doesn't work at times. In my car, that's not a big deal because I also can't hear the person if I connect the call in my car. Even with the volume all the way up, it's impossible to hear. This is extremely inconvenient now that laws in most places restrict the use of a cell phone while driving.
6 When You Buy a New Car, It May Feel Like a Downgrade
When you buy a German car, it comes with plenty of standard interior conveniences. This is great while you own the vehicle. When the repair bills for your German car get too high and you finally decide to buy another vehicle, though, it's a different story. Purchasing a new American or Japanese car is just not as exciting when you're losing features you've already grown to love.
Granted, this is less of a problem now after the recent introduction of infotainment systems in nearly all new Japanese and American cars. However, there are quirky things about German cars you grow to love. So, you're left with a difficult decision. Parting with those beloved features isn't fun, but neither is paying costly repair bills and dealing with potentially life-threatening situations.
5 The Iconic BMW Grille Looks Like Hitler's Mustache
I admit this sounds a bit outlandish. However, Hitler was very closely related to all of the German automakers during WWII. They were business associates and friends. Plus, Hitler studied and used propaganda, and it was a large part of the way he controlled the masses. You know how it is when you're joking around with friends and you come up with silly things? Well, this is no different.
Hitler had a full mustache before World War I. During the war, he had to cut it down, so it would fit under his gas mask. Joseph Goebbels held the title of Reich Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945. Goebbels married the former wife of the head of BMW, Gunthrie Quandt, in 1931, on Quandt's personal estate. Quandt was good friends with Goebbels and Magda, his ex-wife.
The Nazis seized power in Germany in 1933. The same year, BMW featured the new grilles on the BMW 303. You'll have to judge for yourself, though. If anyone within the company knows, that person's not telling.
4 Mercedes Benz Made Hitler's "Super-Mercedes"
Hitler's "Super-Mercedes" was a rolling propaganda tool used by the powerful ruler to persuade the masses. The rare vehicle was one of only four made by Mercedes, and it's very valuable. Since Hitler was defeated, it's gone to auction a few times. It's unknown who currently owns the vehicle, but experts believe the current owner is a Russian billionaire. The auction house in possession of the creepy car is planning to auction it soon. Experts believe the piece of history will sell for millions.
Mercedes-Benz's involvement in Nazi Germany goes beyond making the limo for Hitler. Mercedes, like the other German automakers, used holocaust victims at Hitler's concentration camps to manufacture the luxury vehicles they produced.
3 German Cars Are Designed for Driving in Germany
Auto designers engineer German cars with drivers in Germany and Europe in mind. Several times, US design changes have been necessary in order to correct design features that don't work in the United States and Canada. Our climate and driving habits are quite different from those in Germany, so it's understandable that small changes are made to make cars suitable for other market areas. These design changes made for specific markets are really more like a band-aid than a cure, though.
The company has to change things that cause visual imperfections, like the poorly designed dashboards that melted during the summer in Southern states. Things that go unseen, like wiring issues, remain unseen, and when you bring your car to the dealer, you're charged for the costly repairs.
2 Your Horn Can Stop Working Suddenly
Several German brands experienced horn malfunctions, resulting in recall campaigns. The problem is, for my car, the Volkswagen fix didn't work properly. For several months, my horn worked on and off. This resulted in two close calls for me. It's very frightening to have an 18-wheeler start drifting into your lane while you're driving over a bridge at highway speeds. It's worse when you honk and nothing happens.
The electrical issues in German vehicles can affect many electrical functions of the car. Many features are on a single fuse, and each relay handles a few fuses. If one feature goes out, it usually takes a couple others with it. For example, I notice that my horn and stereo often malfunction at the same time.
1 You Can Accidentally Turn Your Vehicle Off While You're Driving
Most German cars use an engine-start button. It's a great feature that offers drivers the ability to get in and out of their vehicles without digging for their keys. The problem is, the conveniently located engine on/off button is located in the center console, and you can accidentally push it while driving. Typically, you're required to have your foot on the brake to turn the vehicle on and off. However, the security feature doesn't always work.
I found this out when I accidentally pushed the power button while I was driving down the highway. Luckily, I was able to manage the situation. Other drivers haven't been so lucky when their vehicle died, leaving them with no exterior lights or power to restart the vehicle.