Das Financial Crisis Hits Germany

A slump in auto sales is hurting the world’s No. 1 exporter, Germany.  We know exactly how you feel.

LA Times: As the world’s No. 1 exporter, Germany has relied for years on the sale of cars, precision parts, fine watches and a host of other products to fuel its economy.

But the global financial meltdown and the likelihood of a painful recession are scaring more consumers and companies into hoarding their money rather than spending it. Industries that earlier this year confidently forecast strong growth here in Europe’s largest economy are now battening down the hatches and wondering when the storm will blow over…

The bad news comes after a couple of years of stronger-than-usual growth, during which ordinarily frugal Germans began opening their wallets and exhibiting some of the consumerist tendencies of their freer-spending counterparts in countries such as the United States and Britain. Last year, the big electronics chain Saturn even decided to ditch its enormously successful marketing slogan, “Geiz ist geil!” (“Stinginess is hip!”), to take into account the loosening of German purse-strings.

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