Police did not report any injuries on Wednesday and said the vehicle was driven into the gate "at very low speed." Authorities did not immediately comment on the driver's potential motive.
Two slogans, one condemning “murderers of children and old people” and another reading, “Stop the globalization politics,” were written on the car in large white letters.
The investigation is being led by the state protection office, indicating that a political motive is not being excluded. But a police spokesman added that the driver may have had mental health problems, too.
Merkel was scheduled to meet with state premiers on Wednesday to discuss extended lockdown measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Restrictions imposed amid the pandemic have prompted large protests across German cities in recent months.
In an emailed statement, a government spokesman said that “at no point was there any danger to the chancellor, the cabinet and workers inside the chancellery.”