You may be surprised that being a German site we make our country the subject of an article, but now we have more foreign visitors than German ones, for example over 25 per cent from North America. They could be interested in our not quite uncritical view on our country. After all, our motor vehicle industry is among the most respected in the world.
Nevertheless, Germany is a beautiful country. Because people here argue so wonderfully close to a disaster. If one were to compare our problems with those of other countries, one could certainly downgrade the significance of some of these disputes. Being capable of passionate debate is certainly a typical characteristics of many Germans. On average, other nations probably do not get so easily agitated.
It is a shame that most of us lack the experience abroad. No, by that I do not mean travelling to distant lands. The Germans are world champions in this discipline. Also, studying foreign languages has a quite high priority in our country. But I refer to the actual residence abroad, maybe even earning money abroad, not a holiday stay. Because, after returning from such an experience, people are significantly more satisfied with the circumstances here.
'High level whining' is probably what it is. Worldwide, we have certainly a wealth distribution problem. But if we put aside the horrors of starving people, our biggest problems are probably the environment and the prevention of wars. If we forget the damned weapon deliveries for a moment, Germany is quite deeply involved in combating these two problems.
A typical example of our approach is the energy transition (Energiewende). Demanded by the Greens for ages, it becomes the official policy of the country only then, when the majority of the population have already long changed their minds. In fact, Germany has a reputation for tackling such problems with vigour, but we already lost an environment minister. This change preceded to slowly.
Now people are arguing, who should pay the additional costs. Jobs are at risk if industry leaves the country because of too high energy costs. So, should the consumers also pay their share? There will surely be more mishaps. Like during the introduction of the automatic truck toll (LKW-Maut). Its introduction went so badly it became almost a joke, but now the idea works and is even exported.
Also Mercedes has finally understood how the A-Class should look like. And BMW is doing what was long overdue: they are upgrading the front-wheel drive, at least in the smaller models. The VW group has also gone through several changes, the last one was from pump nozzle to common rail. Maybe people in Germany need to go first the obstinately defended wrong path, in order to later swing back onto the right one with even more vigour. There is a saying at the VW, they would often come last, but they would still penetrate the market (example of Touran).
Even here, in the medium-sized town of Düren (90,000 inhabitants), there are examples of the motor vehicle industry. Like the former Ford plant for the production of final drives and cardan shafts. Typically, such companies are created as a subsidiary companies and if successful, released into independence, thus broadening the product base, and thereby reducing the overall cost for the former parent company.
A recent example is the company FleetBoard. It was originally a Mercedes subsidiary involved in the interface between the truck and its driver and it is now independent and claims to be the world's leading telematics provider. Also other brands are now able to enjoy the status reached at FleetBoard.
If you always only mention the well-known manufacturer, it is easy to underestimate the importance of suppliers. This is a fine network that extends across multiple levels and claims to be involved in about 80 per cent of the production process. To build a car seems to be more of a logistical problem than a technical one.
For example, if the sale stagnates like it is the case now, it is noticed even by the last link in the chain of suppliers almost without delay. Production to stock generates undesirable costs. It occurs, if necessary, only for complete vehicles, but more on that later. China may be, by the help of many foreign companies and by governmental guidance, the largest car producer, but it still needs a long time to build up a similar working system with its own companies.
Here, one of the strengths of Germany comes to light: the medium-sized industry. It is the backbone of for example mechanical engineering and it makes successful efforts for the 'Made in Germany' sign to remain the shining symbol of quality. It's almost a miracle that despite declining population and increasing education difficulties this standard can be maintained.
Another car company runs a storage yard for new cars on a large area. French and other manufacturers provide here for a storm of buyers in the spring. As if a car would cost nothing, they line up in rank and file. By multiplying the estimated individual value, there are easily 60-100 million Euro here. Also rental cars are reconditioned for sale. And again, it is amazing, how these cars look after just one year. 10/12