Could the financial crisis be extending to Germany?
The financial crisis that has hit Europe has for a long time not quite affected Germany. However, major companies such as Siemens, BASF and Daimler have begun to complain about slow business and an uncertain future. It seems as though Germany could be on its way to suffering under the current european economic conditions. There are still positive signs though.
Major German companies currently report the cautious nature of their customers and a sluggish demand. Whether it be the chemical company BASF, the high-tech company Siemens, automakers Daimler or the MAN commercial vehicle - the situation seems to be the same; all announcing that this year they will have to fight hard.
The prospects are so dreary that it has been more than two years since optimistic financial forecasts were given. Siemens will not be able to achieve their predicted annual profit of 5.2 billion euros.
It is a hard landing for German companies, no matter what industry they are in. The worldwide economic downturn appears to have struck us all with full force, the only quenstionable aspect of the its affects, was when they were to occur. German companies have so far been relatively unaffected by the crisis. It was as though they were on an island, and were so to speak, thus far untouched. Whilst many companies abroad were experiencing huge financial issues, German companies were reporting increased sales. New employees were earning their bread, and international investments were being made. If there were any problems they were if a different sort: Germany lacked appropriately skilled workers or or were having to solve processing issues.
Expensive luxury cars from BMW, Audi and Mercedes are still the world's fastest sellers, despite the international economic problems. Sales in China are enormous, for example. This is the reason why German car manufacturers have recently faired relatively well compared to rivals such as Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen or Opel, which sell mainly in southern Europe. For them, the crisis has therefore been felt on a larger scale.