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.

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“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.”

Car No Longer Manufactured Since 2003 Will No Longer Be Manufactured Again Next Year

Feature

The compact Beetle was introduced in Germany in 1938 during the Nazi era before becoming a symbol of Germany’s rebirth as a democratic, industrial powerhouse after the second World War.

It came to the US 11 years later, where it became a symbol of utilitarian transport for the postwar baby boom generation – often used by hippies.

The famous car sold for about 30 years before US sales stopped in 1979, through production continued continued production for Mexico and Latin America. The last of the original bugs was produced in Puebla, Mexico, in 2003.

VW Käfer wird bereits seit 2003 nicht mehr hergestellt.

Robust Export Growth?

German exports rebounded in May, providing more evidence of a strengthening of the economy in the second quarter.

Export

Yeah, I guess that’s true. If you forget the exports last month to one particular country. Those have dropped 10% for some inexplicable reason. But I’m sure that will pick up again real soon, right?

Despite ongoing trade tensions, German exports did what they normally do: grow. In May exports increased by 1.8% MoM, from -0.3% in April. At the same time, imports increased by 0.7% MoM, from 2.6% MoM in April. As a result, the trade surplus narrowed somewhat, from EUR20.1bn to EUR19.7bn.

“Die Verunsicherung durch die Einführung von Importzöllen seitens der USA und die Gegenmaßnahmen der EU und Chinas machen sich direkt bei den Unternehmen bemerkbar.”

Only 41?

Germans waste 41 hours a year searching for parking.

Porsche

But then you have to add the 37 hours a year fighting with the other German over the parking space and the 23 hours a year you’ll spend trying to fit into the damned thing (parking spaces are narrow here, you see).

Frankfurt ranked as the worst city in Germany to find parking. On average, drivers in Frankfurt spend 65 hours a year searching for a space, costing them €1,410 each in wasted time, fuel and emissions and the city as a whole €702 million. Essen came second in the ranking (64 hours – €490m), followed by Berlin in third (62 hours – €1.8bn).

PS: At least owners of the Porsche Cayenne won’t be having that problem now anymore.

Germany Not To Reach Its E-Car Goal

Nope. Sadly, chancellor Angela Merkel has just announced that Germany will not be able to reach its goal of having at least 20 e-cars on German roads by the year 2020.

E-Car

This extremely ambitious goal, mocked from the start by gas-guzzling German automobile experts everywhere (some 97 percent of the German population), has now been scrapped for a more realistic goal of a nice round non-dirty dozen.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany will likely miss the government’s target of bringing one million electric cars onto the roads by the end of the decade. The sale of electric vehicles (EVs) has remained sluggish in Germany despite discounts introduced last year and granted to buyers of green cars. In 2016, there were less than 80,000 electric cars on German roads. Experts say German consumers remain reluctant to buy EVs because of relatively high prices, limited driving range and restrictions due to the low number of charging stations.

Merkel: Ziel für E-Autos nicht zu schaffen.

A Secret German Laboratory?

An “underground” research facility run by an elite staff of sinister scientist specialist types? Right here in the heart of Berlin?

Apple

Damn. Sounds pretty creepy to me. And I think I even saw that one once, too. Didn’t you? Wasn’t that the one with Michael Caine in it?

Apple could be developing the Apple Car in a secret Berlin lab, according to a report from Frankfurter Allgemeine. The German publication said on Monday that it had “learned from informed sources that Apple is running a secret laboratory for the development of an automobile — and this in the middle of Berlin.”

Wie deutsch wird das Apple-Auto? Eine Denkfabrik aus 20 Branchenexperten soll in Berlin an einem Geschäftsmodell für das iCar arbeiten. Die Pläne sind angeblich schon sehr konkret.

Germany’s Favorite Sports Car?

Hey, times change. Just ask the folks over at Volkswagen.

Mustang

In Germany, the land of the Autobahn, where speed is regarded as a national right, the best-selling sports car last month wasn’t the locally-built Porsche 911. It was the Ford Mustang.

The Mustang is relatively expensive in Germany compared to the United States. Prices for a four-cylinder turbocharged model there start at about €38,000, or roughly $43,000. Prices for that model in the U.S. start at less than $26,000. Prices for the powerful, V8 Ford GT start at the equivalent of almost $50,000, while the car costs about $32,000 in the U.S. (Car prices in Germany are quoted with taxes and fees included, which is not the case in the U.S.).

Despite the higher price, the GT is, by far, the most popular version of the car in Germany, according to Ford (F).

The Mustang has a huge price advantage over what is otherwise the best-selling sports car in Germany, the 911. That starts at €96,000 in Germany, or roughly $110,000, for a base model with no options.

Die Chefs von VW denken vor allem an ihre Millionen-Boni. Doch wofür? Dafür, dass der Konzern mit voller Wucht gegen die Wand gefahren wird?

I Thought Germany Already Had All Driverless Cars

Just try crossing a busy street here and you’ll see what I mean.

Driverless

But word is that only one in five Germans would be happy to ride in an autonomous car, according to a survey by Germany automobile industry monitoring association KueS.

I guess Germans just can’t stand the idea of losing control. Over the car that’s already out of control, I mean.

If we took the lead in autonomous vehicles, we could over-take the Germans, the Spanish and the French in a huge new industry. We just need to keep our foot on that accelerator – while browsing some play-lists on Spotify and sending a few e-mails of course.

This Is News?

Germans found to be Europe’s most aggressive drivers

Driving

Tailgating, shouting insults – nowhere in Europe do drivers react as intensely as they do in Germany, a recent study shows.

Two out of three (67%) admitted to using offensive gestures, and verbal abuse, to insult other drivers.

More than one-third (34%) said they purposefully follow close behind, or otherwise annoy drivers, in order to intimidate them.

PS: Oddity 125. Fun German Games you didn’t know you were participating in: Tailgate Tag. Germans love to drive up to within just a few inches behind the slower moving cars on the left lane of the autobahn and bully them over to the right.