Official State Car - Germany

Germany

Over the years, German presidents, chancellors and senior politicians have often used Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles and their predecessor models. The most famous variants were the Mercedes 300 series "Adenauer" and the stretched "Pullman" variants. Currently the State Car of the President of Germany is an armored Mercedes-Benz S600 with license plate 0-1, but he has also used an Audi A8. The President is (besides the Minister of Defense) the only German official whose official car shows a flag (a version of the President's standard) placed on the front of the hood.

All officials under close personal protection from the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), Germany's federal police; are transported by the BKA pool of armoured cars and BKA driving staff. The car pool includes armored limousines from all German car manufacturers, usually high-end models such as the Audi A8, Volkswagen Phaeton, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Some German politicians choose to express their regional origins through the make of car they use. In particular officials from Bavaria customarily prefer cars from Munich-based BMW over the more common Mercedes brand. Some high-ranking politicians from Alliance '90/The Greens (Germany's green party) have chosen Audi, VW or BMW cars to avoid the posh and elitist image of Mercedes models. While in office, former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder initially used an Audi for his official car, a brand he is known to prefer as his personal car as well. Later during his administrative term, Volkswagen presented him with a VW Phaeton which found its way into the car pool. His successor in office, current Chancellor Angela Merkel is known to alternate between brands as to project neutrality and support for the German car industry in general.

One of the earliest links between a leader and a particular marque was the association of Adolf Hitler with Mercedes-Benz. The Führer was known for his love of luxury cars and ordered a succession of custom vehicles from Mercedes, culminating in the 770K model of 1941, which was rumoured to weigh up to five tonnes. These cars and their predecessors became synonymous with Nazi parades and Hitler's visits to conquered cities such as Vienna and Paris.

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