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GERMANY: Market still in decline

From just-auto.com | May 16,2007
The VDA reported a further decline in passenger car registrations in Germany in April.

Registrations were down 7% compared to a year ago to 265,000 units.

Production managed to grow. Output was up 10% to 451,100 units, thanks to a 14% increase in exports to 334,800 units.

In the first four months of the year passenger car registrations were down 9% at 982,500 units. The decline is attributable mainly to an increase in the rate of VAT from 1st January which persuaded an estimated 100,000 customers to bring purchases forward in to the end of 2006.

Discounts and incentives offered by vehicle manufacturers appear to have slowed the decline in sales in April, although the effect of the VAT rise should start to be wearing off soon anyway. The VDA is forecasting that for the full year the German car market will be 3.3m units, down from 3.47m a year ago.

Order intakes in April will still 3% down on a year ago, confirming the VDA's view that there is some underlying weakness in the market.

Production in the first four months was up 8% to 1,977,700 cars, with exports up 12% to 1,497,400.

The automotive industry employs 750,000 people in Germany, and the strong level of exports can be seen as a sign that Germany is a competitive production location. Employees should seek reassurance from this, said the VDA in a statement.

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