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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had narrowed my choice of a new car to replace my Skoda Yeti (faultless but 5 years old) to either the new Honda HR-V hybrid or the T-Roc Style with leather interior. The T-Roc is quicker and the Honda is more economical. I was favouring the T-Roc.
HOWEVER, by buying a VW I am indirectly funding Putin’s appalling war against Ukraine, Germany is sending billions of Euros to Russia which Putin is using to directly attack Ukraine and slaughter its people.
On reflection I can’t live with that so will not be buying any German car or, knowingly, any German product until they discontinue funding Putin. Germany is enormously wealthy and could fund their economy if they cut off the gas purchase until alternatives were available. Certainly some business hardship but nothing they couldn’t cope with. Basically they are saying our business success is worth more than Ukrainian lives. No government is going to apply formal sanctions against Germany but it doesn’t mean individuals can’t.
 

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Oh go on then......I will bite!

Not sure how Germany can be held directly accountable for the actions of Putin but right now people are queueing up and waiting months for a new VW here in the UK and if you don't buy one of the T-rocs allocated to the home market someone else will. On that basis I cant see VW or the German economy suffering too much.

Incidentally VW were one of the first to suspend vehicle production in Russia and suspend vehicle and parts imports when it all kicked off so as far as I am concerned, as a company they are doing their bit.
 

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Well I have to commend you both for highlighting this issue, perhaps with different perspectives ... I'm fully behind supporting Ukraine and doing all we can to help them through this difficult period and we will all have our own personal views on that.

Obviously supply chains could well be affected, but Honda probably less so, and the availability of new cars and spares could affect us all through higher prices and v long lead times. Just something else to consider.

But to return to the point of the OP and what to buy. There are so many aspects to consider but have you looked at the Skoda Karoq or Kamiq, or would you still consider that to be supporting Germany ?
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It was an article in the paper today that set me off thinking about this. There is no doubt that the billions of Euros Putin is taking from Germany etc. is enabling him to fund his invasion of Ukraine, would cutting off the money stop the invasion instantly? No, but Russia would very quickly run out of foreign currency and be unable to continue the war in the medium/long term. The argument in the paper was that although cutting off the gas would damage Germany in the short term their economy and reserves would easily cope with the damage - maybe 3 day week working etc but no worse than the UK in the 70’s and with an immensely strong economy well able to afford the damage. Whereas Ukraine is being pulverised by an overwhelming war machine funded by German purchase of Russia’s gas. Undoubtedly Ukraine will put up a superhuman effort and bravery to prevent their country and peoples being enslaved, aided by arms aid from others including UK and USA - little from Germany as they have little to give. In fact Germany has relied on USA and UK NATO umbrella while spending next to nothing on their defence while at the same time cosying up to Putin to obtain vast quantities of cheap Russian gas.
Looking at it like that then maybe Germany owes it to Ukraine and the rest of NATO to take some pain and do their part by cutting off the money supply to Russia. Just makes you think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Looking at what to buy I have tested both the Karoq and Kamiq. The Karoq is just too big for my needs and the Kamiq while being excellent has too low a driving position. My wife has a back condition and finds having to stoop down to get in or having to “climb” up out of a seat very difficult. The Yeti has a raised seating position and with leather seats enable her to just slide in/out of the seat without problems. I have had 3 Skoda’s and never had a moments problem with any of them, Skoda were also helpful in enabling me to order new cars with 16” rather than 17” wheels, 16” wheels with higher profile tyres provide a much more comfortable ride.
T-Roc has the same elevated seats and a reputation for comfort, road tests suggest Honda HR-V is similar. I am sure there are other alternatives so will expand my search. Luckily I am in no desperate hurry as the Yeti is fine, I am just wary of keeping any car over 6+ years old.
 

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Fully agree about the higher seating @Expatman as I found getting in and out of my previous Golf was becoming increasingly difficult.

The market has changed a lot in the past few years with SUV/Crossovers replacing traditional hatchbacks. There are lots of brands to choose from which have various sized models and the best advice I can offer is for you and your wife to visit as many dealers as possible, build a short-list and have some test drives. It's important to check getting in and out on roads with inclines (up/down), that have slopes (left/right) and with high/low pavements. I find the inclines and slopes the hardest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry, I didn’t’t make myself clear. I bought my present Skoda Yeti in 2017. I am looking to change sometime soon, not considering a Skoda and very reluctant to buy a VW for the reasons I stated. Still looking for a suitable vehicle to buy, no decision yet.
 

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Apart from what's going on at the moment you do realise that VW had some very strong links with the Nazi Party? A certain Mr Porche, who played a big part in the company, was a fully paid up member.

Have a look at this fellow who worked for both VW and Porche after the war. A war criminal if ever there was one.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Apart from what's going on at the moment you do realise that VW had some very strong links with the Nazi Party? A certain Mr Porche, who played a big part in the company, was a fully paid up member.

Have a look at this fellow who worked for both VW and Porche after the war. A war criminal if ever there was one.

Agreed, but that is 75 years ago and I am not sure what influence we can have on past events. Only influence we can hope to have is on current and future events.
 

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Agreed, but that is 75 years ago and I am not sure what influence we can have on past events. Only influence we can hope to have is on current and future events.
Yes, I agree but his employment with VW, although a long time ago, was in the 1960's, the time when sales of the Beetle went ballistic. Personally, I think that Germany hasn't covered itself in much glory over recent events but that doesn't surprise me. If there's a chance the country will be at a disadvantage by taking any kind of action or agreeing to anything then it ain't happening. Just ask the Greeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, I agree but his employment with VW, although a long time ago, was in the 1960's, the time when sales of the Beetle went ballistic. Personally, I think that Germany hasn't covered itself in much glory over recent events but that doesn't surprise me. If there's a chance the country will be at a disadvantage by taking any kind of action or agreeing to anything then it ain't happening. Just ask the Greeks.
We are in full agreement. All we can hope for is that there is a reawakening in Germany of their need to honour commitments to NATO and their neighbours by investing heavily in their armed forces and creating a meaningful deterrent to any further Putin plans. I would have hoped by 2022 we would not have needed to enhance armaments but it seems the only thing Putin understands is power of arms.
I am afraid Angela Merkel has much to answer for with cosying up to Russia for gas and oil supplies while running German armed forces into the ground.
 

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From todays paper:

VW chief’s call for Putin deal shames all Germany

The business establishment’s repeated forgiveness of Kremlin transgressions helped blaze Russia’s path to invading Ukraine.

Stop the war. The boss of Volkswagen has had quite enough of all the disruption and inconvenience, thank you.

That’s right. From the corporation that gave the world “dieselgate” comes the timely intervention of Herbert Diess, who thinks “we should do the utmost to really stop this war”. To be fair, who doesn’t share those sentiments?

Except the reason that most of us want to see the invasion stopped is to end the bloodshed, the murder, and the wanton destruction of Ukraine’s towns and cities – not to mention removing the threat that Vladimir Putin will lose the plot entirely and launch a nuclear strike on the West.

Diess, however, has his own unique take on events. As Russian missiles pummelled the southern port of Odesa and authorities uncovered the bodies of 44 civilians under rubble in Izyum, the chief concern of one of Germany’s most prominent business figures appeared to be the damage to Europe’s economy.

If global trade continues to struggle, he said, “Europe will suffer most, and Germany, but I think it will be bad for the whole world”.

There’s never a good time to be prioritising growth and continued prosperity over the lives of millions of innocent people but coming on the same day that Putin staged his cynical Victory Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square, Diess’s words were particularly unwelcome.

It is crass comments like these that heap shame on a rotten German establishment, whose repeated forgiveness of Russian transgressions helped blaze Putin’s path to Ukraine and have made it the weakest link in the Western alliance.

It is also indicative of a corporate machine that was once admired around the world but has become a byword for wrongdoing after a string of high-profile crises. “I think we should not give up on open markets and free trade”, Diess told a presumably wide-mouthed audience at a Financial Times car industry conference.

What is most objectionable about such lily-livered words is that when he calls for the EU to “not give up on open markets and free trade”, what he’s surely most concerned about is the damage to VW’s bottom line.

Instead of joining the exodus of Western companies from the country, the carmaker was among those that shamefully sat on the fence in suspending local production and exports.

Still, at least VW’s chief had some advice on how to “get back to trying to open up the world again”. Diess thinks the EU should “get back to negotiations” as opposed to the widely accepted view that the responsibility lies with Putin to end the war by pulling his troops out of Ukraine.

As Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister put it: “The best strategy for major German business would be to fully sever business ties with Russia and then call on Russia to stop the war and return to diplomacy.”

The response of Andrij Melnyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin, was equally withering: “In Kyiv people would prefer the VW CEO to address President Putin personally, a man he knows well.”

Diess should “call on the Kremlin to immediately cease combat operations against the civilian population of Ukraine,” Melnyk said.

Quite. Alternatively, the folk at VW could just ban their boss from speaking in public entirely. After all, this is a man who once had to apologise for evoking a famous Nazi slogan in an attempt to articulate the importance of boosting profits.

In a spectacularly ill-judged address to an audience of VW managers, Diess used the words “Ebit macht frei”, a reference to “Arbeit macht frei” or “Work will set you free”, which the Nazi regime had shaped into the gates of Auschwitz.

The gaffe was particularly embarrassing because, as Diess himself acknowledged, VW has a “special responsibility in connection with the Third Reich”. During the Second World War, the firm made tanks for the German army using thousands of slave labourers from concentration camps. German apathy towards Russia’s invasion of Ukraine undoubtedly stems from its post-Second World War pacifist foreign policy, which has had to be torn up in the face of Putin’s aggression. Likewise, it suffers from a nation’s guilt over the atrocities on the Eastern Front during the 1940s. But self-interest and dependency is as much to blame. Germany’s Russian ties are extensive and long standing. Its over-reliance on Russian oil and gas is the reason why the new German government dragged its feet on a fossil fuel embargo for too long.

The close relationship extends way beyond energy. Berlin conducts tens of billions of euros of trade with Moscow every year and until China emerged as the world’s next great powerhouse, Germany was Russia’s number one trading partner. At the time of the invasion, more than 6,000 German companies operated in Russia. That’s more than the rest of the EU put together.

The German system was once universally admired for its law and order and respect for the rules. It produced industrial and financial champions with global might. But in a country obsessed with coalition and consensus, an arrogant, out-of-touch elite became unaccountable to shareholders and wider society, paving the way for a slew of major scandals including dieselgate; multiple misdemeanours at Deutsche Bank and the country’s biggest suspected post-war fraud at tech giant Wirecard.

Diess’s remarks simply serve as a reminder that Germany’s establishment vanished into a moral vacuum long before Putin’s tanks rolled into Ukraine.
 
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