Today’s Sunday edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung is full of articles about Opel: the car manufacturer that has become the focus of to-bail-or-not-to-bail debates in Germany.

I’ve never seen an Opel in Munich. Okay, we are the home of BMW–Bavarian Motor Works–and we’re also home of some of the richest zip codes in the Federal Republic.

My grandfather drove an Opel in Brooklyn, New York. I don’t even know where he got it. He parked it defiantly in front of the house. It was a political statement, understood by very few people.

Opel is the struggling, straggling tail end of a dream: “Wohlstand fuer alle”–“Economic well-being for everyone.” It’s early twentieth-century socialism on wheels.

It’s the Volkswagen without the Hitler.