When the popular SWR Hitparade radio show is on air, nearly everyone in the state of Baden-Württemberg listens. The shows principle is quite simple: Once a year, listeners vote their favorite song. After the voting has ended, the state’s largest radio station plays the songs ranked in the Top 1000 (and nothing else) for an entire week. This year, the famous radio show celebrated its 30th anniversary. Once again, a band from Stuttgart was among the Top Ten: an a capella group called “Füenf.” The reason why their song “Mir im Süden” (We in the South) is so popular may be because of lyrics like this: “We in the South produce higher-quality motor vehicles (…), because sadly hardly anyone can compare with us in technical fields.”
Although these lines must be understood as slightly ironic and may sound slightly clumsy (even in the German original), they explain very well what the people in southwestern Germany are especially proud of. This is where the automobile was invented, and Gottlieb Daimler’s dictum “The best or nothing” is still the guiding principle for vehicles that are built in the company bearing his name. The automobile is, after all, the foundation of the region’s flourishing economy and thus of its jobs and prosperity.
Along with machine construction, the automotive industry is by far the most important manufacturing sector in Baden-Württemberg – and the Stuttgart region is, in a sense, the industry’s heart. Some people even regard the valley of River Neckar as a kind of automotive Silicon Valley. Companies such as Daimler, Porsche, and Bosch as well as numerous supplier industries, universities, and research institutes ensure that the region also drives job creation. In Baden-Württemberg, the jobs of almost half a million people are directly or indirectly dependent on the automobile.