Germany In The Driving Seat

Germany In The Driving Seat

The floods that swept through central Europe this month were shocking for the loss of life and material damage they inflicted. Angela Merkel’s comment, that the German language could barely describe the devastation, summed up the impact on the EU’s most populous and technologically advanced country.

The good news is that Germany’s recovery is already underway, and the sector that has delivered well over a century of excellence is at the forefront.

900,000 people are employed in the German automotive industry, and together they produce 6 million cars each year. Around one third of these people work for the same company, Daimler AG. Daimler-Benz was formed in 1926 by Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. Both men had been designing and selling cars since the 1880s and in 1901 Daimler sold the first Mercedes. One of the company’s investors had suggested that the car should be named Mercedes, after his daughter, because he suspected that the German-sounding Daimler name would not sell well in France. It was an example of product localization at the dawn of the 20th century that we can still learn from two decades into the 21st.

95 years on from its formation, Daimler AG is a leader in production of cars, vans and “smart” electrically-powered vehicles. It’s also among the most successful names in modern motorsport. The Mercedes Formula One team has won 16 world titles, including the past seven drivers’ titles, and of the 237 Grand Prix races that Mercedes cars have competed in, 119 – just over 50% – have been won. By the time of the company’s 100th anniversary, now just five years away, how much further will it have advanced from the original Daimler/Benz business model, and in which directions? Those who believe this summer’s flooding is partly due to climate change will be happy to see Daimler’s commitment to sustainability. Large-scale production of the Smart EQ Forfour battery-powered electric car is a symbol of that commitment. And the company’s commitment to connectivity is equally strong.

Daimler is starting a Europe-wide cooperation project, working side-by-side with BMW, Ford, Volvo, HERE Technologies, Tom Tom and transport authorities in six European countries, building a network to share information on hazardous road conditions as quickly as possible. Transport ministries in Germany, Spain, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden are supporting the project. This is connectivity with a purpose, something that strikes a chord with XTM International Business Development Director Andreas Schwarz:

“XTM Cloud brings together like-minded partners for the lasting benefit of our users, and we applaud Daimler AG and other industry leaders for doing the same thing in the interests of public safety. And of course we’re also fascinated by the technological developments that will shape the automotive industry in the 2020s.”

With a mass of technical documentation and marketing material to share, automotive manufacturers need an efficient way of communicating with a global network of websites and dealerships. There are over 100 million lines of code in each new car. And approximately 20 million of those lines of code are required simply to manage satellite navigation and in-car entertainment. We believe this decade will see software upgrades to our cars become as commonplace and as expected as upgrades to our mobile devices. With rapidly changing configurations, manufacturers will need swift and ongoing translation of updates into hundreds of languages.

We know this because more and more clients are turning to XTM International for support. When market leaders realise that they don’t just need a translation, they need a Translation Management System, ours is the number they call. As Andreas Schwarz puts it:

“A Translation Management System enables the speed, quality and consistency of response that enterprise-level businesses require, centralizing language assets, standardizing quality processes and maintaining brand values in each distinct market. It puts the user in the driving seat.”

Germany will recover from this summer’s floods. Its resilience and industrial excellence will see to that. At XTM International, we’re proud to play a supporting role. We’re proud to help our clients speak to the world.