The Government will be persistent and rigorous in continuing the program announced last year. It will give to the entire automotive sector the strong impulse it needs to overcome the general preconceptions on the one hand and the lethargy on the other.
It will attempt to continue to directly and indirectly decrease taxes for the automobile owner. In addition to extending the tremendous Autobahn road network, the Reich is determined to devote practical attention to improving the existing major roads. The Reich Government will provide every possible support to the development of the automobile industry. Above all, it will continue its endeavors to establish a close and profitable link between this most recent means of transportation and the large existing transportation institution of the Reichsbahn. The problem of securing and producing fuel on a national basis will be solved! Gentlemen, I do not need to paint a picture for you of the consequences of the existing attitude and the measures which have resulted from it.
There is no clearer proof of the effectiveness of our actions in the past year than the international Automobile Exhibition of 1934 in Berlin, which was organized literally as fast as lightning and which has become such a wonderful success.
Above all, it gives me the indestructible confidence that the commercial adroitness of our great plants, the ingenuity of our technicians and the miraculous productivity of our German manual laborers and precision workers will doubtless succeed in accomplishing the great tasks which still lie before us.
And these tasks are not small.
Gentlemen, if we really want to increase the number of automobile owners in Germany to a figure in the millions, this is only possible if we adapt the price to the financial capabilities of the mass of millions of potential buyers in question.
The German Government desires that the German Volk take an animated interest in motorized vehicles, and it follows that the economy must design and build the right vehicle for the German Volk.
Only a few months ago, German industry succeeded, by fabricating a new Volksempfänger (people’s radio), in introducing and selling an enormous number of radio sets on the market. I would cite the most significant task of the German automotive industry as that of increasing production of the one car which will necessarily open up a class of buyers numbering millions, for only if we are able to win over the broadest possible masses for this new means of transportation will its economic and social advantages be indisputable.
What German industry has accomplished in the years behind us is admirable. There is no country in the world showing greater progress in the construction of new automobiles than Germany. All the way from small models to the most modern racing cars, from trucks with diesel engines to motorcycles: everywhere we see new paths being taken and truly ingenious ideas becoming reality. It should be noted that this Automobile Show is not the product of long planning, but shows a random sample of our industry’s products.
When I invite the German Volk to review and inspect this random sample, I am doing so with the conviction that it will acknowledge with joyful pride this further proof of what its engineers, merchants and workers have once again accomplished. But I do not wish to let this opportunity pass without once more drawing the attention of every German to the many millions of those who even today have not yet found a way to earn their daily bread by their own labors.
It is the duty of every German to declare his solidarity with these Volksgenossen and to contribute, by his every action and his behavior, towards giving the new spiritual and physical workers of our Volk employment and thus a means of existence.
March 17 is the 100th anniversary of the day upon which the builder of the first automobile first glimpsed the light of day. In addition to Benz, we must also regard Daimler not only as the inventor of the first automobile engine, but also as the founder of the first and hence oldest automobile factory in the world.
What a tremendous development has taken place between that fateful December 16, 1883, when an automobile engine was patented for the first time in the world, and today! Who can doubt that we will succeed in carrying on this wonderful development for the benefit of our entire German Volk? And furthermore, we perceive in this new means of transportation an element of human cooperation which, extending far beyond the borders of an individual nation, ties nations together.
At a time when all of us have but the one earnest desire to heal the wounds of the past decades in peaceful cooperation with the other nations, we are happy to give to the world a visible demonstration of the background of the problems which concern us today and proof of the skill with which we master them.
Thus, I am happy and proud to declare the International Automobile Exhibition of 1934 in Berlin open to the public.