Mascots and Motor Trends
But while folks in Deutschland love the little guy, they also love their cars -- emissions from which are not helping to assure the future survival of Knut's wild brethren. Not only were recent proposals to put speed limits on the famous autobahn met with heavy public resistance, but, according to Der Spiegel, SUV sales have risen by 45 percent in Germany over the last 3 years. Even putting SUVs aside, the general trend in Germany is toward higher horsepower, not higher mileage. Witness the demise of VW's 80-mpg Lupo. The company killed it after painfully slack sales.
So what gives? DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche calls it a case of eco-schizophrenia. Whatever the diagnosis, it's neither unique to Germany nor does not bode well for Knut's kind.