With a population of 82 million and a gross domestic product in 2017 of 2.924 trillion pounds, it should come as no surprise that Germany is considered a dominant economic power throughout the world. During the 80s and 90sthe rest of the globe was jumping at the chance to absorb cheap credit, yet Germans were in many respects shrewd, but in every respect sensible in regard to their spending habits — an attitude which had a detrimental impact on the euro staying afloat.
The Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, the first female chancellor since the office was established back in 1867, has helped to mould what can only be described as an economic powerhouse in both Europe and the wider world. Asides from responsible spending and stable leadership, Germany plays home to some of the world’s largest and most iconic brands. In this article, we look at some of these major names, their origins, and what they contribute to the German economy.
Adidas and Puma
Considered to be two of the world’s largest apparel sports brands, Adidas and Puma have a closer connection than you may think. Adi and Rudi Dassler, two brothers from Herzogenaurach in Central Germany, have built a reputation for causing a more disruptive destruction within a town than the taking down of the wall in Berlin. The siblings established Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik in 1924, a footwear company that would go onto assist athletes achieve legendary status. Renowned American sprinter Jesse Owens sported their shoes at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, however, as the success of their brand grew, so did tensions between Adi and Rudi, so much so the company was disbanded a quarter of a century after its initial development.
What any great industry names have taught us in the past, however, is that from the ashes will rise a phenomenal phoenix. In 1949, Adidas and Puma were born, along with undoubtedly one of the most vicious sibling rivalries the world has ever seen. Kendall Jenner, Mohammed Salah, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are just a host of the celebrity endorsements by Adidas, while competitors Puma have previously sponsored the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt. British model Cara Delevingne is the current face of the brand, and they have just signed the “largest sponsorship deal in their history”, with Manchester City.
In 2018 Adidas was ranked the eighth most valuable brand in Germany, weighing in at £9.393 billion. On the other hand, Puma, whose headquarters are located directly facing Adidas, were ranked 30th, with a brand value of £1.369 billion.
The world is awash with Volkswagen cars — the Volkswagen Beetle is the world’s second best-selling car ever, while the stylish Golf has established itself as a popular choice for both male and female drivers across the world, thanks to its sheer versatility. Volkswagen, initially designed to be a ‘quality cheap-car, has cemented its position as a universal fan favourite, offering a generous selection of small and large cars, while similarly boasting an extensive range of commercial vehicles. Clever marketing campaigns and astute German engineering cemented a place for the brand as a German powerhouse. However, through branching out, and purchasing various other manufacturers including Audi, Bentley, Porsche, motorcycle developer Ducati, and commercial vehicle producer Scania, the group have guaranteed worldwide domination. As the largest car manufacturer in Europe, they boast a copious number of global Volkswagen dealerships and provide tailored service plans. In 2018, brand value was recorded at a staggering £19.378 billion from Audi and Volkswagen alone, disregarding any of the other brands which they own and their respective annual successes.
Pipping alternative German supermarket Lidl to the top spot in terms of brand value in retail, Aldi, over the years, has successfully confirmed its deserved position within the everyday shopping market here in the UK. Now, nearing the thirtieth anniversary of its arrival in Britain, Aldi rose to prominence back in 1946, after Karl and Theo Albrecht laid claim to their mother’s small convenience-style grocery store in Essen, West Germany. The siblings took the local store and transformed it into an indigenous retailing giant with more than 300 outlets, all before a bitter argument regarding the sale of cigarettes caused internal dispute and a swift breakdown in communication. Aldi, in Germany, was split into Aldi Nord, and Aldi Sud, the latter of the two being the one which is found in the UK today. Nowadays, Aldi has approximately 10,000 stores across the world and in 2018 reported a brand value of £10.236 billion.
It seems very unlikely that you will be able to make it through modern day life without, at some stage, operating a piece of Bosch equipment. Launched in 1886, by an ambitious Stuttgart native Robert Bosch, the engineering company brought one of the most influential developments in history to the table, in regard to automotive innovation — the magneto ignition. Bosch was inspired by the likes of legendary American inventor, Thomas Edison, however, his natural drive to purse was so nearly quashed in its early days due to a heavy dependence on electrical power sourcing. The impeccable success of the ignition saw the company grow from strength to unpredictable strength — one unit being sold in its first year and one million being sold by its 25th year. Nowadays the company employs more than 375,000 members of staff, developing a host of goods including heavy-duty power tools, toasters, and washing machines. In 2018, Bosch ranked just below Adidas as the ninth most valuable brand in Germany, worth £7.792 billion.
The brands mentioned above are just a handful of some of the world leading manufacturers and servicers from Germany, actively contributing to what can only be described as an outstanding economy.