German automakers positive about refugees, believe they will deliver answer to labor issues

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Volkswagen, Daimler or Porsche believe the wave of migrants – around 800,000 of them expected this year to arrive in Germany – would represent an opportunity to alleviate their growing labor shortages. Daimler chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche believes taking in up to one million refugees this year will represent a “herculean task” for the country but would also deliver a prospective economic jump that could be similar in force to the country’s post second World War turnaround in the 1950s and 1960s. He believes many of the migrants fleeing war, persecution and even poverty have skill and will be highly motivated, possibly delivering the answer to the German economy’s trouble – population is not on the rise and the quota of people reaching retirement age is growing. “In an ideal case, this can help foster another economic miracle,” commented the executive, adding that “many examples of successful integration can be found in Silicon Valley,” and also reminding of the German boom after WWII that transformed the country into the continent’s economic power. He added the company would assist the migrants by housing them in the home state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and also donate the same amount as employees. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn was also supportive and said the company would seek to give them employment and trainee jobs at its facilities and factories. And its Porsche luxury unit is also re-purposing a program that was first designed for school dropouts and will now give language courses and counseling to refugees. Germany is the main attraction for the millions of refugees as well as economic migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – the country has the unemployment rate at a record low and the gross domestic product has been surging at its fastest pace since 2011. Via Automotive News Europe