In 2010 the value of German tool sales reached 3.4 billion Euros, a respectable 25 percent increase on the previous year. In the first half of 2011 sales increased by 16.8 percent. The FWI Association of German Toolmakers (Fachverband Werkzeugindustrie e.V.) emphasises that for many years healthy sales have been considerably bolstered by exports, and that growth in two figures is nothing unusual. The Association says that one reason is the high reputation for quality enjoyed by tools ‘Made in Germany’; also the steady investment made by firms in new products and efficient internal company processes. Rainer Langelüddecke is chief executive of the FWI: “Firms did their homework during the last crisis and the following period.”
A recent survey conducted by the FWI indicated that export sales held up well in 2011 with demand for German tools up by 7.7 percent in the period January to September. In the first half of 2011 tool exports were valued at 1.73 billion Euros, 15.7 percent up on the similar period of 2010. Europe is Germany’s main export market for tools: 55.7 percent of tool exports went to other members of the European Union – with exports to the EU up by 15.6 percent. Outside Europe, the USA is the biggest export customer. However, in the same period, exports to the USA were up by only 1.9 percent; the value of German tools supplied represented 7.3 percent of total exports. Exports to Asian countries grew by 24.5 percent, representing 15.1 percent.
The outlook to the spring of 2012: 77.7 percent of FWI members described business as ‘satisfactory’ while 18.3 percent described the outlook as ‘favourable’; 52.7 percent of toolmakers said the economic situation would remain unchanged until the spring of 2012, though 43.7 percent forecast an economic weakening.