There's a touch of irony in the post, given the news this morning that General Motors are switching from Bochum to the Wirral to produce the next generation of Astra's - and there's an expression I never thought I'd type!
I've just finished reading Philip Oltermann's book Keeping Up With The Germans: A History of Anglo-German Encounters which was a little like eatinga bratwurst, great to begin with, hard in the middle and a relief to finish it. One of the things that Oltermann writes about is the myth of German efficiency and by coincidence I watched a documentary recently on the VW plant at Wolfsburg which underlined what he wrote in that what we English regard as German efficiency is nothing of the sort but simple pride in their work/job/life etc. As somebody put it, when discussing the VW, if you make a bad product it reflects on you, your family, your town, your colleagues and your nation.
As I have written before I am off to Germany next week and I needed to purchase a sticker to put in the car windscreen which entitles me to enter certain low emission zones in some of the towns and cities I may be visiting, the plan is actually to use public transport as much as possible, but given that the potential fine is €40 every time you are stopped against €6 which is a once in a lifetime payment it was a no brainer. Anyway I scanned and e-mailed the registration document last Tuesday night, having paid the fee online, to the Government office in Berlin. On Wednesday morning when I got to work I had an e-mail thanking me for my custom and a receipt for the payment, the sticker arrived on Monday morning - how good was that?