The Czech Car Growth-Engine?

News today which is of more than passing interest from the Czech Republic. The South Korean industrial group Hyundai has announced that it is going to build its first European car plant at Nosovice. The factory – which is scheduled to cost around one billion euros – should begin production in October 2008 with full capacity of 300,000 vehicles a year being reached in 2009. This new output, when added to added to the 600,000 cars or so produced annually by Volkswagen’s Skoda Auto and the Franco-Japanese joint venture, TPCA, will bring the Czech Republic into the front line – along with Germany, France and Italy – of the European automotive industry.

As elsewhere this will have its good and its bad side.
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Petrol, Petrom, and the President

So, President Basescu is unhappy.

This is not unusual. President Basescu is often unhappy. You’d think that, having won the election last December against Prime Minister Nastase, he’d be at least content. But Basescu is a scrapper, and he’s always looking for a fight, and in recent weeks he’s found one. It’s about petrol, and Petrom.

Perhaps I should explain.
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German Beerdrinking On The Wane?

Population changes are going to bring many cultural changes in their wake: and I’m not thinking only of immigration and multiculturalism here. Ageing populations will have different tastes and preferences, among them, apparently, will be changes in the quantity and types of alchohol consumed.

Among the explantations offered for the fact that the nation of beerdrinkers may soon no longer be one are the trend towards healthier living, economic problems (although that used to be thought to be a cause of raised consumption) and a deposit now payable on many cans and bottles. But there is no getting away from the fact that the big cause is changing demographics. Less young people means less beer. Now what else does it mean?
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