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.

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.

German Of The Day: Hubraum

That means engine displacement or capacity. Or horsepower, if you prefer. You know, like Fridays for Horsepower?

Hubraum

The German Motorists Who Oppose Greta Thunberg – Motorists in Germany are banding together to oppose climate activists’ calls to limit the use of cars. Politicians are taking them seriously because, unlike the Fridays for Future movement and its leader Greta Thunberg, most members of the Fridays for Horsepower group can vote.

“Fridays for Horsepower is a logical and reasonable reaction to the ideological madness of the environmental activists.”

“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.

“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.”