Jesus Just Left Chicago

Madrid, actually. But once she got to Germany nobody offered her a place to sit.

Greta

Nobody needed to. She also had a first class ticket. But that’s beside the point or something. I just don’t get it. Doesn’t Greta HERSELF have her own special train or, you know, mobile field headquarters or something along those lines?

Climate activist Greta Thunberg and Germany’s national railway company created a tweetstorm Sunday after she posted a photo of herself sitting on the floor of a train surrounded by lots of bags.

The image has drawn plenty of comment online about the performance of German railways.

Wir wünschen #Greta eine gute Heimfahrt. Und arbeiten weiter hart an mehr Zügen, Verbindungen und Sitzplätzen.

Speaking Of The German Automobile Industry

And German industry in general. They couldn’t laugh off Tesla. Now the punches are coming in hot and heavy.

DaimlerAuto

German Industrial Job Losses Top 80,000 With Daimler Cuts – Germany’s economy may have narrowly avoided a recession, but the pressure on the country’s industry shows no sign of abating.

Daimler AG said this week it will shed 10% of management positions at its Mercedes unit, lifting the tally of job cuts announced this year across Germany’s manufacturing sector to more than 80,000, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Companies from Volkswagen AG to Siemens AG are letting workers go as Germany’s powerful automotive industry struggles with a shift toward electrification and self-driving cars, and makers of machinery and robots are hit by slower exports and trade disputes. Makers of well-known German products such as Meissen porcelain and WMF kitchenware are also trimming their workforce.

Tesla Must Fail

Right? At least that’s what I’ve been reading in the German media for many years now.

Musk

But some things you just can’t ignore away. And times change, or something. Looks to me like the German automobile industry just ain’t what she used to be.

Elon Musk’s German Factory Started With Love Letter From Berlin – Musk is taking his fight for the future of transport into the heartland of the combustion engine, where the established players long laughed off Tesla as an upstart on feeble financial footing that couldn’t compete with their rich engineering heritage. But Musk has captured the imagination of the think-different consumer, putting pressure on the Germans to respond.

“We definitely need to move faster than the airport.”

German Of The Day: Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung

That’s a beauty, isn’t it? Some prefer using the word Tempolimit instead. To save time. Both mean “speed limit,” however. And no, it can’t happen here.

Speed

A measure to introduce a 130 km/h (roughly 81 mph) speed limit on the network of motorways that has crisscrossed the country since the ‘30s was introduced by the German Green Party was rejected on Thursday by a majority of Bundestag members. Germany is currently the only country in Europe with stretches of unrestricted motorways, with neighboring countries conforming at the very least to the 130 km/h limit similar to the one proposed.

Bundestag lehnt Tempolimit auf Autobahnen ab.

“Nothing Gold Can Stay”

It can’t even stay parked in Germany.

Gold

Damn. A car like this doesn’t honk. It blings.

A golden car was pulled over by police on Sunday as it was “too bright.” Police were concerned that the car would dazzle other drivers in the western German city of Düsseldorf.

A police spokesman said the potentially dangerous “dazzling effect” was why the car had been pulled over.

BMW: Bring Me West

German engineering at its best.

Talk about a mother of invention…

In 1963, a man named Klaus-Günter Jacobi decided to help his best friend escape East Berlin and before being forced to report for duty in the East German army. To do so, he decided to modify his BMW Isetta to be able to hide a body.

Now, if you’re not especially familiar with the Isetta, it’s a tiny bubble car with a motorcycle engine at the back and barely enough room for two people to sit in the bench seat behind the front opening door. Space is at a premium, but Jacobi — who had trained as a mechanic — found that there was a dead space behind his seat and next to the Isetta’s tiny engine that could be used to smuggle a person.

The Small Escape

No Contradiction Here

No more than anywhere else in Germany, I mean.

Contradiction

Everything contradicts itself here. Otherwise they wouldn’t call this place Germany. It’s einfach kompliziert (simply complicated) in this country. Germans don’t like or want electric cars, for example, but are obsessed with “saving the climate.”

With the contradiction between Germans’ climate anxiety and their love of huge SUVs, it’s no surprise that carmakers are struggling – Amid trade wars and plunging China sales, the number of cars rolling off Germany’s production lines has dropped by 12% this year and exports by 14%. European auto sales fell 3% in the first eight months of 2019. 1 With demand expected to remain weak for a couple of years, the German parts supplier Continental AG isn’t ruling out cuts to working hours and jobs.

Meanwhile… Riding a bike and car-sharing have become a genuine alternative in cities such as Berlin.

And What’s The Problem With That?

German-U.S. Ties Are Breaking Down – Never since the founding of postwar Germany have relations between Berlin and the United States been as fragile as they are today. There is virtual radio silence between Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump and U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell is doing more to agitate the situation than to mediate.

Germany

It’s quite easy to explain, really: “I’m making them pay their bills” and the Germans don’t want to pay these bills. They’ve never paid them in the past, they’re thinking, so why should we pay them now? If there’s anything else I can do to straighten any of this up for you here, just ask.

“There is no understanding, but there are also no misunderstandings.”

“Crotchety, Over-Critical Culture” Part II

As reported earlier, Germans themselves will be the first to admit that, when it comes to entrepreneurship, they have a “crotchety, over-critical culture, with its fear and condemnation of failure,” but it is what it is and they are what they are.

Cars

There’s even a saying/joke here that goes “anything in Germany that is not expressly permitted is forbidden.” Take electric cars, for example. Their production may not be expressly forbidden but the German automobile industry is doing its damnedest to pretend like they don’t exist. One could say this has more to do with “never touch a running system” (this industry still makes piles of money) but it really gets down to being crotchety again. They’re missing the boat and they know it.

Concern is rising in Europe’s automobile heartland about the economic impact of the industry’s move to electric vehicles from gasoline-powered cars.

Officials and executives in Germany fear the country’s big car companies and rich ecosystem of suppliers and service providers are insufficiently prepared for the transition, and that their leadership may not be assured in an electric-car world, threatening jobs, tax revenue and even growth.

Assembling electric cars isn’t as complex or labor intensive as making traditional vehicles and relies partly on imported technology. At the same time, China has made rapid forays in electrification and is shaping up as a potentially formidable competitor in the field.

The trepidation is particularly acute in the city of Stuttgart, hub to one of the country’s biggest automotive clusters at the heart of the nation’s dynamic south. It comes as Europe’s largest economy is showing signs of weakness amid a chill in global trade.

“The greatest catastrophe would be if the industry fell asleep at the wheel. It is crucial for jobs that companies like Daimler make a massive push into this technology and build locally.”

German Of The Day: Handelskrieg

That means trade war.

Handelskrieg

A trade war between the United States and Europe is coming and the fallout could tip Germany into recession, according to analysts at German lender Commerzbank…

Official German statistics supplemented by the bank’s own research show that in 2018, the United States was the top export destination for German cars, accounting for about 12% of the total with a value of 27 billion euros of parts or finished vehicles.

The bank estimated that a Trump-ordered tariff increase of 25 percentage points on EU auto imports would slash that figure for Germany down to around 14 billion euros per annum.

When factoring in how much of that export figure is actual German “added value,” the bank estimated that total economic output for the country could fall by around 0.25 percentage points.

“All the more dangerous in a situation where the German economy is only just managing to avoid a recession,” it read.