Germany are major players in the European automotive market and German manufacturers hold 29% of the market share as of the end of 2011. You’d think this surprising as German cars have always been regarded as premium models that often cost more than their other European counterparts. Germany, however, is extremely good at business and throughout time have shown they are strong against the recession through their efficiency and hard work.

Some of the most profitable and stable companies in the world are German, and these back up the backbone of the economy. These companies are generally known as the Mittlesand and operate in various sectors across the country including the automotive business. Let’s take a look at the main five car manufacturers who hail from this part of the world:

Mercedes-Benz – They are one of the most respected and well-known marquees in the industry. They won the 2011 ‘most powerful brand of the year’, just pipping Rolex to the top spot.

They have always been extremely desirable, and have a strong heritage routed in motor sport. Whilst the British have Rolls Royce; they have had Mercedes and with a range of cars from a small family vehicles to exclusive supercars it appears they are as desirable and popular as ever.

Audi – Audi have roots in rally racing, and this ‘Quattro’ technology has been a major selling point through their consumer range of vehicles. They have experienced a sharp rise in popularity over the last 5 years with a range of new models including the breathtaking R8 and A1 super-mini. Their ability to make cars throughout a range of niches has won them a broad range of different clientele whilst the brand still remains exclusive and prestigious.

Volkswagen – VW literally translates to ‘the car’ and this has always been their ethos; to create sensible cars for real people. It has worked as they are one of the most profitable companies in the world. Their range goes from the small Polo to the sporty Golf and all the way up to the luxurious Phaeton model.

The quality and drive of a VW has always been their strongest selling point, and their efficient production line ensures they are able to maximise on their selling points whilst keeping their costs as low as possible. This is smart business.

BMW – Another one of the most recognisable brands in the world. Their range of executive and family cars have left others trying to mimic the way the cars feel to drive and handle. Engineering with German precision, BMW have the art of the car mastered. Their standard formula of engine in the front, gearbox in the middle, and power being sent to the rear is a winning formula, and they are one of the only brands in the world to exclusively make cars that are rear-wheel drive.

BMW dabble in the motorcycle market too, making some unique bikes that offer an alternative from the Italian and Japanese dominance. BMW are to launch their much-hyped range of electric cars soon, under their ‘i’ branding which could revolutionise how we see the future of electric motoring.

Porsche – Although more of a specialist sports car manufacturer, Porsche have many times been the most profitable car firm in the world. This is because they are extremely efficient and their recipe for success is extremely well managed. Their cars are as desirable as ever as they have stuck to what they are good at and have not gone off on a tangent like some other brands.

Porsche models come at a premium price, but with worldwide demand and a strong motor sport presence, they still are able to command high prices on their Boxster, 911 and Cayman models. The Carerra GT has provided a successful ‘hypercar’ also with unrivalled power and beauty in a German package.