“Made in Germany” defends its leading position

In the past two years, Germany has defended its position as the leading country of origin of high-quality brands. This is happening despite growing international headwinds for German products: Donald Trump’s “America First” policy is damaging German brands in the US, the diesel scandal has put a damper on German car manufacturers in their domestic market, and competition from China is also catching up quickly. Nevertheless, since 2015 the leading German brands have been able to grow almost consistently in terms of appreciation in important markets. In the case of Siemens, Puma and Bayer, the percentage increase was even 10% each. This is shown by the survey that Globeone conducted among more than 1,500 consumers in Germany, the US and China at the end of 2017 on their opinion of over 50 leading German brands. The results are now available in the fourth edition of our biennial study “The Image of German Brands 2018”.

None of the leading brands suffers a loss of image

“The image of German brands has generally improved again from a very high level since 2015,” emphasized Niklas Schaffmeister, founder and Managing Partner of Globeone in Cologne. What is remarkable is that none of the leading brands in the top 20 suffered a loss of image in international comparison during this period. This even applies to VW, which has largely overcome the diesel scandal in the US and in China.

Quality, prestige and reliability cement the top position

The study uses seven different image dimensions to specify Germany’s current country of origin profile (COO profile). According to the report, the country of origin is still most strongly associated with excellent quality (71%), high prestige (69%) and reliability (64%). BMW, Adidas and Mercedes occupy the three top positions in the evaluation of the brands with the best reputation (78% each). With five car manufacturers at the top of the awareness list, it is also clear that Germany is still perceived internationally above all as an automobile nation. And the reputation of German brands abroad is often even better than in Germany. The study points out that three out of five German brands have an even better image in China and the US than in their home market.

The COO leadership is politically delicate

No wonder that Germany sold more goods to other countries in 2017 than ever before and has established itself as the surplus world champion in the current account over the past two years. This leadership is politically explosive in the face of growing protectionism and criticism from Washington of existing trade agreements. The German surpluses are one of the most controversial points in the dispute between the EU and the US over applicable import duties. The growing influence of politics on the success of brands – including national brands such as “Made in Germany” – is perhaps the greatest challenge in view of the future.

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