It has been demonstrated that the strength loss in a lean Al-Mg-Si alloy due to solute reduction could be compensated by back-adding a lower at % of Ge and Cu. Nanosized precipitate needles which are the main cause of strength in these alloys, and material hardness has been correlated to parameters quantified by TEM. It was found that additions of Ge and Cu strongly affect the precipitation process by increasing precipitate density and reducing precipitate size. Investigations of precipitate atomic structure by HAADF-STEM indicated that they contain mixed areas of known phases and disordered regions. A hexagonal Si/Ge-network was found to be present in all precipitate cross sections.