It took a decade for Germany to emerge as Europe’s most important economy—one on which the very future of the monetary union depends—so it’s only fitting that it’s now also home to the world’s most ambitious car company: Volkswagen AG.
The maker of such iconic rides as the Beetle is on track to become the world’s biggest carmaker by volume, helped by Toyota’s recent struggles and General Motors’ new focus on profitability over market share. Last week, it took another step toward cementing its status as an industry titan by buying the half of fellow German carmaker Porsche that it doesn’t already own for US$5.59 billion. The addition of Porsche gives VW an impressive roster of high-end vehicles—ranging from Audi and Bentley to Bugatti and Lamborghini—to sell alongside more mainstream VW models. It’s no longer just the “people’s car.”