The Decline and Fall of the German Empire

The German Automobile Empire.

Cars

Could 400,000 car industry jobs in Germany be lost? – The car industry is in apparent decline in Germany. Some estimates predict that half its 800,000 jobs will be gone by 2030. The industry disagrees with that estimate, but the road ahead looks bumpy.

“The production of electric vehicles can be automated more easily. If there is no improvement in the competitive position of the German industry in the area of electromobility in the next few years, and if the need for imports of battery cells and electric vehicles continues to grow in light of the launch of electromobility, employment structures will be severely hit.”

What A Shocker

Not. Again. Yawn.

Speed

The latest proposal to introduce a general speed limit on German autobahns has not received the needed support from lawmakers.

I’ve never understood this. From time to time the Greens & Co. suggest that Germans reduce their speed on the autobahn. It’s a fine idea, I guess. In theory. But that would be like asking Americans to turn in their guns. It ain’t never going to happen.

Der Vorschlag des Umweltausschusses, die geplante Änderung der Straßenverkehrsordnung um eine Höchstgeschwindigkeit von 130 Kilometern pro Stunde zu ergänzen, fand am Freitag in Berlin wie erwartet keine Mehrheit in der Länderkammer.

German Of The Day: Tiefstand

That means lowest level. You know, like the current 23-year low in German car production?

Tiefstand

German car production fell to its lowest in almost a quarter of a century as Europe’s biggest economy suffers from the fallout of a global trade war.

Automakers including Volkswagen AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG produced 4.66 million vehicles in German factories last year, the weakest since 1996. The country’s VDA car lobby, which published the figures on Monday, said the 9% decrease was a result of waning demand from international markets.

The industry is set for more tough times this year. The VDA predicted global car deliveries will drop to 78.9 million vehicles from 80.1 million in 2019.

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.