Germans bought fewer new cars in 2013 than in the previous year. The number of new cars fell for the second time in a row, slipping just below the three million mark. The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) in Flensburg reported 2.95 million new registrations – a drop of 4.2 percent. However, the December figures, also published on Friday, show an upward trend. This also applies to production and export. "We are entering the new year with confidence," said the President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Matthias Wissmann, in Berlin.
Among German car brands, there was only one winner in the domestic market last year: Porsche, with a 1.4 percent increase to 20.800 sports and off-road vehicles sold. Despite a decline of 4.6 percent, VW is the market leader with a 21.8 percent share and 642.200 passenger cars sold still market leader. Competitors BMW and Audi performed somewhat worse in percentage terms. BMW brought 231.800 cars to customers, a decrease of 5.8 percent. Audi sold 252.000 new cars, 5.5 percent fewer than in 2012. Mercedes, Germany’s number two, lost 1.4 percent compared to the previous year and ended up with 277.400 new registrations. Opel’s sales fell by 2.9 percent to 207,500 units.500 units.
The carmakers’ domestic business was comparatively good in December. The number of new registrations rose by 5.4 percent year-on-year to 215,320.320. The German brands even increased by 9 percent. Domestic production and exports also picked up significantly in December. Domestic incoming orders were 14 percent above the level of the same month last year, Wissmann said. According to VDA figures, production for 2013 as a whole grew by one percent to 5.45 million passenger cars. Exports improved by two percent to 4.20 million cars.
Wissmann sees good opportunities for German automakers on the US market in particular. In two weeks’ time the Motor Show begins in Detroit (13. to 26. January). In view of "exciting world premieres" and continuously growing market shares, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen Co. had "very good prospects" on the other side of the Atlantic, Wissmann told the Borsen newspaper on Friday.
At the same time, the VDA boss was more optimistic about Western Europe and Germany. Wissmann expects a slow recovery of the Western European market. "This will facilitate an easing on the discount front," he opined, which should increase earnings margins for automakers. In addition, the success of German manufacturers is based on their worldwide presence. Of the more than 14 million German-branded passenger cars sold in the previous year, only just over 2 million were sold on the domestic market, he said.