Uber hasn’t had the best luck breaking into the German market with its low-cost taxi service, but the countless suits against the American company for not adhering to the country’s regulations may not be its biggest concern. The quality of the cars its drivers use may be the real reason for concern.
Germany is known for their quality cars, and there is no exception when it comes to the taxis on the road. Roughly 60 percent of German taxis are Mercedes-Benz luxury sedans, with the E-Class accounting for most of the fleet. Uber cars tend to be made up of the Volkswagen Golf compact and lower end vehicles.
It’s not just the make and model of the car that sets the traditional taxi services apart from Uber either. Uber drivers are using their personal vehicles for the service, which aren’t upgraded as often and can be 10 years old. Traditional German taxis are on average only 3.5 years old.
At the end of the day, Germans have higher standards for their taxis and so far haven’t shown a great interest in lowering those standards to save a few euros with Uber. Die Zeit, a weekly German newspaper conducted a survey in September that found 73 percent of Germans were just disinterested in lower cost services like Uber.
While Uber has been looking into ways to correct the issue with its quality of vehicles, including making deals with automakers, it still has to overcome the issue of trust with German riders. Boris Knoblich, a Berlin marketing consultant, told Bloomberg News, “Not paying taxi rates for going from point A to B is attractive, but I don’t really know anything about those drivers or the cars they’re driving. You don’t become a taxi driver overnight and that offers security, and you know their cars are up-to-date.”