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Germans Drive Fast

March 4, 2007

Filed under: life,travel — Terry Wohlers @ 10:12

When traveling on business, I enjoy touring product development and manufacturing organizations, especially outside the U.S. I find it interesting to compare and contrast the wide range of methods, people, and management strategies. EuroMold was weeks away and I received an invitation from a company that specializes in prototype aluminum castings for the German automotive industry. The owner and managing director offered to meet me at the airport in Frankfurt and take me to his company.

After an excellent visit to his facility, the owner drove me from his site in Steffenberg to Frankfurt, which is an estimated 110 km (70 miles). It did not take long. For much of the trip, he was running his Audi between 200 kph (125 mph) and 265 kph (165 mph). That’s right: we were flying. And, at times, I felt like we might. Was I uneasy? Somewhat. Did we survive? Well, I’m punching out these words with all my digits and most of my faculties.

The automobile is respected in Germany, as well as in most other European countries. When cars are coming from behind, trucks are quick to move to the right-most lane. In the U.S., trucks tend to camp out in the passing lanes and it drives me crazy. Many American truck drivers have this I’m-big-and-you’re-not attitude and are slow to move over for faster vehicles. In Germany, it is the Porches, Mercedes, BMWs, and Audis that rule.

To this day, I don’t know why my German host was in such a hurry. I’ve driven many times—and fast—on Germany’s autobahn, but never anything close to 265 kph. My only conclusion is that some Germans like to drive fast. And, he wanted to make it a memorable day. He succeeded.