Silent Night? Not In Germany

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Usually, at this time of the year, Germany would already be closed down, to reopen some time after the first week of January. Not so this time around. The calendar punishes Deutschland by putting the 25th and 26th of December and 1st of January – all legal holidays – on weekends. Ouch. And if you are working at a German car manufacturer, you might be asked to come in “between the holidays” to make some badly needed cars.

Associated Press reports that “Germany’s leading carmakers are making the rare move of cutting holidays short as 2010 draws to a close to meet a surge in demand that is contributing to the nation’s strong economic rebound from the recession.”

The German car market dropped more than 25 percent in first eleven months of the year, but the VDA automakers’ association expects car production for the year to come in at 5.5 million vehicles, 11 percent more than last year. Why? Exports. Especially to China.

  • The BMW factory in Leipzig will remain open between Christmas and New Year.
  • Daimler is reducing its year-end closure times: “On average, the closures are about one week shorter this year in all of our factories than they were in the past two years of the crisis,” said Daimler spokeswoman Dominique Albrecht.
  • Volkswagen will keep factories open through Dec. 23, last year most closed for the year on Dec. 19.
Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Zackman Zackman on Dec 22, 2010

    Bertel, I suppose this is a good problem to have, don't you agree? Are people over there whining about this? Your article doesn't indicate that there are any issues about the companies remaining open. The Europeans get more vacation that Americans do, that's for sure. Ethnic Germans are, or rather, used to be the most disciplined people on the planet, Hitler jokes notwithstanding. I'm sure those workers will take it in stride and their "off time" will be made up for in the near future, perhaps. FWIW: the edit doesn't work, even tho' it says so.

  • Uncle Mellow Uncle Mellow on Dec 22, 2010

    The Germans are a little 'over the top' with their holidays I know ( I get 4 days ) but as someone who was raised in England on a diet of American christmas-movies I still struggle to understand how the good folks of the USA only get ONE days holiday for christmas.