First off a little bit if background information for you to better understand this post.
I’ve lived in Germany my whole life, I love cars so obviously I’m very familiar with our car culture here. Last year I took a trip to NYC and I just thought about what cars I saw there and what made an impression on me so I figured I’ll write it down and some of you might find that interesting. I’m guessing a majority of the readers and writers on this subreddit are American so maybe it’s nice for you guys to look at it from a different angle and even learn something. Also, I know that many of the cars you will see in NYC you won’t see in other parts of the US and that you probably can’t really generalize these impressions on the entirety of the US.
Anyways, here we go.
The first thing I noticed when I got off the plane at JFK and drove to Manhattan is that there are a LOT of American cars and a LOT of Japanese cars – way more than what I’m used to seeing in Germany. Now obviously it makes sense that there are a lot of cars from American brands in the US and I knew that Japanese brands like Toyota, Nissan, Mazda… are very popular in the US but I did not expect to see that many.
Another thing that I wasn’t used to seeing are some of the American brands we don’t have in Germany like Lincoln, Buick, Pontiac and Cadillac aswell (even though I think Cadillac do sell cars in Europe now, but I’ve only ever seen maybe 5 of them in Germany so I think it counts). It was cool to see some of the cars irl that I had only seen in pictures so far.
Now, I’m a big fan of German brands and their cars especially Mercedes-Benz. I’m obviously used to seeing a lot of German cars on the road and what I noticed is that in NYC first there really aren’t a lot of German cars on the road and second when you see one it’s most likely a Jetta lol. But what I found interesting is that when you see a car from more premium German brands like Mercedes, Audi or BMW it’s pretty much always an expensive model. I felt like the only Benz’s I saw were S-Classes and GL’s and maybe the occasional GLK or GLE. Again, I know this is probably only true for bigger cities and it’s different in the rest of the country but it was still pretty weird to me. In Germany you really don’t see that many S-Classes and even less GL’s. That might be the case because people in the US generally like bigger cars than the average German. I also wonder if that’s a reason why many people in the US think driving a BMW or a Mercedes is something only people that are well-off can achieve? Because when I hear that, it doesn’t really mean much to me, because the Mercedes’ and BMWs and Audis you see driving around here are mostly the lower or mid end models that many people could afford if they wanted to. Mercedes-Benz sold the second most cars of any manufacturer in Germany last year, only second to Volkswagen so I guess that kinda shows how popular they are here. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. Ok moving on.
I was very lucky to hear that the New York Auto Show would open while I was in the city so I went there and it was one of my personal highlights of the trip. I’ve been to the IAA in Frankfurt a couple of times and for the most part it wasn’t that different. Pretty much just like every other big car show. But there were a couple smaller things that I really liked that I haven’t seen at other car shows. For example they had a small section there for tuned cars which I loved. They also had a NASCAR parked in one of the hallways and someone asked me if I wanted to get in which of course I did. It was pretty hard to get in and out but it was still a very cool experience. Another thing I noticed at the car show was that there was pretty much a whole floor for trucks. I knew that Americans love their trucks but again, I didn’t know to which extent. You don’t really see any trucks for private use in most parts of Germany, maybe a little more in rural parts. Instead there are tons of small compact cars that get people from A to B just fine while being cheap and having good gas mileage, so pretty much the opposite of trucks. But yeah, what I’m trying to say is that you wouldn’t see a lot of trucks at German car shows, never ever a complete floor of them.
So these were some of the impressions I got on my trip and some of the differences I noticed compared to what I’m used to seeing in Germany. Hopefully you found this post interesting and if you have any questions just ask away!
Tl;Dr: Americans and Germans drive very different cars.
Sorry for formatting, I’m currently on mobile.