Made in Germany – Is it Really a Successful Brand?

One of the many German Truck drivers that do the Rotterdam run, is Hans. A run to collect consumer goods made in China and other Asian Countries, and drop them off at German factories for packaging, and to be eventually labeled “Made in Germany”. After Hans drops off and waits by one of Germany’s largest packaging plants, he laughs, “Conning the Russians has always been good business.” After all, this was the first stage in Han’s journey, the Shoes were made in China but unsuspecting Russians will see the “Made in Germany.” brand in each pair of shoes, and Han’s will deliver them to Russia. Is Germany conning the World?

Not an easy question, given the amount of products packaged but not manufactured in Germany, coming in from Eastern Europe and Asia. That are somehow added to the export figures, and GDP of Germany quite legally. So why do non-German manufacturers prefer using the “Made in Germany” brand?

Consumers often are judgemental about products and their place of origin. Germany has always promoted and maintained a name for quality products, even if a lot of these products are actually made in countries with a poor quality image. Corporations that import these products, make higher profits because of the low labor costs in these Countries, asking a higher price based on the high “quality” image of German products. Not everyone is fooled, even the Economist Magazine published an article stating Germany was fast becoming a “Tinker” state peddling the “Made in Germany” brand for less well known manufacturing Countries in Asia, and Eastern Europe. This may of raised questions at the time, but remained a side issue until the current economic crisis created a predicted loss of 2.5% growth in the last quarter of 2008. This is suspect, because this loss of growth, could actually be the loss of exports being shipped through Germany, as factories across the developing World close, and European retailers predict lower orders for 2009. One fear for many German economists could be the fact that the deceptive marketing of the “Made in Germany” brand, could be the demise of the current consumer perception of “quality German made products.”

Consumers may feel deceived if the product they bought, in the belief that it was German made is in reality manufactured elsewhere. This could in turn question the honesty of German made products, and whether the extra price Consumers often pay for these products, is really worth it. Consequently adding more problems to a Country currently battling with high unemployment, and a banking industry in crisis.

Youth Unemployment Costs Hit Staggering 8 Billion GBP a Year

A study from the Prince’s Trust and RBS found there were more than 25,800 young people claiming unemployment benefit for over 12 months at a cost of some £155m a week according to reports.

This was a 442% increase on the number in 2008, before the financial crisis began, and takes the youth jobless rate to a 16-year high.

“This is not just a welfare burden – lost productivity and wasted potential directly affect the rate of economic growth in the UK. It’s crucial for the economy that young people have the skills and confidence they need to find work and view entrepreneurship as a realistic option.” Said Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister.

Young people with fewer qualifications were hardest hit by the recession, adding to the education debate. We need to look at this from beginning to end. Why not look at teaching trade skills at school? Why not load university fees for those wanting to study courses where there is no industrial demand?

If the numbers are right this is an £8bn a year prize here, surely meriting considerable attention from the educators and politicians in order to produce what society requires. Also it must be soul destroying to emerge from education after 13-17 years and not be able to get a job of any kind although it should be noted that 91% of graduates successfully obtained a job within 6 months of graduating

The new figures take the UK youth unemployment rate above many other European countries, including Germany, Denmark, Austria, Norway and Holland.

Eight Reasons Not to Invest in a Property in Germany

Germany has a very positive image in the World, but that rosy image may be just smart marketing by the Government, and the cosy image we have of owning very good quality German- made products in the past. The property market in Germany since early 1990, has been stagnant. This led to Germany having some of the most affordable real estate in the European Union. A nation were you can own a house for the price of a new car, and live under the illusion, your property is “safe,” compared to countries like Bulgaria. Here are Eight reasons why owning a house in Germany is a high risk:

1. The German population is in decline, Germany has some of the lowest birth rates in the European Union. One Town in Germany, has the lowest birth rate in all the World- negative population growth, means less demand for housing in the future.

2. Germans do not want to own property, most Germans prefer to rent and purchase a property overseas. Germany has one of the lowest home ownerships in the European Union. Ask yourself why Germans do not want to own a property in their own country?

3. German Banks hit by lending to failed American Banks, helping fuelling the property bubble in the USA,- before the market collapsed, were some of the hardest Banks to get a mortgage from. In fact it was rare for a Bank or Mortgage company to consider more than a 50- 60% mortgage on a German property. Why did the Banks shun encouraging home ownership in their own Country?

4. Germany is a litigation state. Germans are the most likely to sue in the European Union. The state encourage this. And many States do not even need evidence to award damages in civil courts. One reason, many Germans say its better to own nothing in there own Country,- its safer.

5. If you work and own property in Germany, and become unemployed. You are not entitled to unemployment benefits. Germany has a ‘means tested’ benefit system, and many property owners once they become unemployed- simply have to sell to survive.

6. Rental laws in Germany make it impossible for property owners to evict tenants, unless its through a Civil Court. Often tenants can leave unpaid utility bills, and not pay the rent passing on the liability to the property owner.

7. Damaging a property in Germany is not considered a criminal act, and neither is trespassing. Many properties get vandalized, and German Law states it is a civil law case- as long as you can prove who damaged the property.

8. Utility and other bills related to the property, are some of the highest in the European Union, compared to average salaries. The use of alternative energy such as solar power is “illegal” unless you get permission from the local authorities or the local electricity company- One reason few Germans use green energy.

Germany may seem an attractive investment for anyone looking for a “cheap” property, but in reality it is one of the riskiest property markets in Europe. One reason, there is an abundance of cheap, property in Germany, even local people refrain from considering purchasing,- often preferring to own a more expensive property outside Germany.