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Hold the Sauerbraten, Pass the Avocado : In West Germany It's the Year of the Yuppie, and They're Everywhere

September 13, 1987|KEVIN COSTELLOE | Associated Press

FRANKFURT, West Germany — Every evening West Germany's well-paid young professionals crowd into the Yuppie cafes of Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt, showing off the designer clothes that help make the new generation a hot consumer market.

Taking their cue from the American Yuppies who brought their dual incomes to fashionable city apartments and suburban homes, many Germans in their 20s and early 30s ignore social protests and pursue money instead.

"The Yuppies are everywhere in West Germany," said Cyril N. Kuhn, publisher of Vogue for Men magazine in Munich. "Our whole advertising campaign is based on that."

Many are bankers, stockbrokers, lawyers and doctors. A growing number of young entrepreneurs also are breaking into the rigid German business world.

'Elitist Bourgeoisie'

Kuhn, an American who has lived in Germany for seven years, said in an interview that he was enthusiastically pursuing the Yuppie market. He said it was populated by an "elitist bourgeoisie" interested in becoming "international Germans."

German Yuppies prefer the Porsche 924-S or 944 sports car. The richest buy the Porsche 928-S4, with a price tag of $70,000 for the 1988 model. Others, still early in their careers, rocket along in the powerful but less pricey Volkswagen GTI.

As they move into their 30s, West German Yuppies appear to go for sleekly styled BMW and Mercedes sedans.

Rolex watches are in. So are credit cards, in a country where cash-and-carry is still preferred. Foreign travel is a must. Travel agents say that the United States is a favorite destination.

Stiff Competition

The growth of such West German fashion names as Jil Sander, 43, and Daniela Bechtolf, 30, both from Hamburg, is giving Italian designers stiff competition in the German market.

Vogue for Men is filled with ads for high-priced fashion and accessories. The August issue features a guide to trendy hangouts in Dusseldorf.

Germany's elegant Steigenberger Hotel chain has started pitching to Yuppies in some of its advertising.

"We're certainly making an effort to reach them," company spokeswoman Lise Lindemann said in an interview.

Big Salaries, Perks

Rising young executives can earn from $55,000 to nearly $100,000 a year by the time they reach 30, according to industry estimates. Young foreign exchange traders at banks can earn from $41,000 to $70,000.

With the salary comes a wide array of perks, ranging from vacations to company cars and club memberships.

It's a far cry from just four years ago, when hundreds of thousands of young people took to the streets in anti-missile protests.

Last April's traditional Easter holiday march against nuclear missiles drew only 1,000 people to a Pershing 2 base in Mutlangen and about 8,000 in Munich.

Tennis Stars Fuel Boom

The spectacular success of West German tennis stars Boris Becker and Steffi Graf boosted the Yuppie boom. Both teen-agers have appeared in dozens of ads, including a Becker series for the conservative Deutsche Bank and a Graf ad for an Opel convertible.

After work, many German Yuppies gather at cafes and nightspots, such as Frankfurt's Pour Toi Cafe.

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