Although West Germany registered another big trade surplus for the month of November, the country's motor car industry is falling on hard times.
SV Audi NSU sign PAN TO cars in factory area
GV PAN Parked cars
GV Volkswagens outside dealers' showrooms (2 shots)
SV Guest workers boarding trains (4 shots)
GV Entrance to Mercedes factory
SV AND GV Workers assembling Mercedes (3 shots)
GV PAN Parked cars outside
Initials CL/0210 CL/0228
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Background: Although West Germany registered another big trade surplus for the month of November, the country's motor car industry is falling on hard times.
The biggest vehicle producer, Volkswagen, has lost money this year for the first time in its history ... not through its popular V.W. lines, but through subsidiaries Audi and N.S.U.
Already about 30,000 Volkswagen workers are on Shot-time work, and more than 11,000 others have accepted the firm's offer of cash bonuses if they resign.
The prestige Damiler-Benz company is the only West German car manufacturer to keep its head above water this year.
The cutbacks in the motor industry are causing world-wide unemployment, ad in West Germany the Government is considering sending home about one million "guest" workers. It's already been suggested that many of the "guest" workers leaving Germany in special trains this Christmas will not be allowed to return.
SYNOPSIS: Despite another bug trade surplus in West Germany in November, the country's motor vehicle industry has been suffering. The biggest manufacturer, Volkswagen, has lost money this year, for the first time in its history. The losses have not been bought about so much by slightly declining sales in the popular "beetle" line, but by big sales drops in V.W.s subsidiary Audi - N.S.U. The company already has about thirty thousand employees on short shift, and has closed early for the Christmas break. Another eleven thousand employees have taken advantage of the company's cash offer for voluntary resignations.
Also facing an uncertain future are West Germany's "guest" workers ... nationals from other countries who work in West German industry particularly in motor vehicle construction. More than a million of them went home on special trains in the past fortnight, and it's expected that the Government might not allow them to return if unemployment continues to soar. The massive cutbacks in motor vehicle construction are having a snow-baling effect on other industries and urgent action is being taken to avoid a "crash".
The only West German car maker not faced with loses this year is Daimler-Benz, whose luxury Mercedes vehicles are now the country's third top seller, overtaking Ford and the Volkswagen subsidiary Audi-NSU. While the nation's new vehicle registrations are down an average twenty per cent this year, Daimler-Benz has maintained its remarkable record of keeping ahead of its previous year's sales.
Daimler-Benz is regarded as something of an industrial "flagship" for West Germany. Earlier this month the Government of Kuwait bought fifteen per cent of its shares as an investment.