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Plant shutdown sparks anti-Nokia move in Germany

Posted: 22 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:site shutdown? handset? Nokia Germany site?

Nokia's announcement of closing down its Bochum site in Germany has ignited anti-Nokia anger in the country, with politicians publicly ditching the firm's cellphones and joining calls for a national boycott, according to an Agence France-Presse report.

The handset maker's plans to close the Bochum factory and shift production to Romania, where labor costs are lower, will result in 2,300 job losses.

Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck attacked what he called Nokia's "caravan capitalism," while Kurt Beck, head of the Social Democrats (SPD) party, has banned Nokia handsets from his home. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said consumers had a right to favor appliances "made in Germany."

Consumer protection minister and a member of Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Horst Seehofer has also hinted he might ban Nokia phones in his ministry.

Peter Struck, head of the SPD in parliament has returned his Nokia N-95 and asked his office to find him a new phone.

The announcement of the site closing stirred bitter resentment in Germany with the DGB trade union federation calling for a boycott. In addition, a survey released on Jan. 18 by market research institute Psychonomics showed that Nokia's image in the country suffered a blow since the announcement.

The survey found consumers suddenly giving Nokia lower quality ratings after previously comparing it favorably to competitors like Motorola and Ericsson.

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