Wednesday, February 10, 2010

German President confronts car people

The German Federal President Mr Horst Koehler held an incredible speech in front of ADAC, which is THE lobby organisation for cars and car culture in Germany. Now his office published the translation in English. Some quotes: 'Many people just get into their cars in the morning almost without thinking, and then they find themselves stuck in another traffic jam. Experts have calculated that traffic jams cost the German economy several billion euro every year. And to my mind the answer is not simply to build more roads. Stuck in traffic jams, people waste time, get irritated. Some people put themselves through it every day, even if a five-minute walk would take them to the underground, which would get them to work quicker and more comfortably.'
'Henry Ford once said, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses". In other words, mobility has to be thought ahead. You, leading representatives of the car industry, be ahead of your customers! The phrase "that's what the customers wanted" is not set in stone for all eternity. As leaders you have a responsibility to lead. And part of that is to recognize shifts in the tide - on the markets and in society - and to react promptly and get new products ready for the market.'