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German Car Industry Expects Stable Turnover in 2007

From German Press Agency| May 16,2007
Frankfurt- New car sales in Germany were expected to grow by 3 per cent to 3.4 million vehicles this year and remain at roughly the same level in 2007, Germany's Car Industry Federation (VDA) said Tuesday. VDA President Bernd Gottschalk said exports and production levels were set to reach new records as German manufacturers increased their share in key markets.

New registrations in November increased 18 per cent from the same month a year ago to 326,000 units, the VDA said, as buyers took advantage of lower petrol costs and dealer discounts.

Other factors were a drop in the number of people without jobs and a desire to buy ahead of the 3 per cent increase in sales tax that comes into force in January, the VDA said.

"The end-of-year offensive is in full swing. We expect to do good business in December helped on by the Christmas trade," Gottschalk told a news conference in Frankfurt.

Gottschalk said exports were expected to increase 2 per cent in 2006 to a record 3.9 million vehicles and remain at this level for the coming 12 months.

Western Europe remained the most important market, accounting for 60 per cent of all exports. The highest growth rates were recorded in Russia and China where German manufacturers were able to double their sales, the VDA president said.

Production was expected to increase to a record 5.4 million vehicles, with turnover reaching 254 billion euros (338 billion dollars), he said.

Car manufacturers slashed 15,000 jobs in the key industry this year, despite the encouraging figures. "Employment in 2007 will remain heavily dependent on our ability to compete on foreign markets," Gottschalk said.

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