German new car sales keep shrinking
GENEVA (AFP) – The number of new cars sold in Europe’s top market, Germany, fell by 10.5 per cent in February compared with the same month a year earlier to 200,683 vehicles, the German transport office KBA said on Monday.
The figures were released at the Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland and showed that the annualised decline was sharper than the fall of nine per cent in January.
On a monthly basis however, February saw a modest improvement, as German car sales were 4.5 per cent higher than in January. The hardest-hit automakers last month were the French group PSA Peugeot Citroen, with a 40.6 per cent year-on-year fall, followed by Opel, a German unit of General Motors, which saw a 21.2 per cent decline, and Ford, with a decrease of 19.4 per cent.
Volkswagen’s sales fell by 14.0 per cent. Renault and Hyundai, meanwhile, each saw an increase of 3.4 per cent.
The compact car sector did best, with sales growing by 20.6 per cent, while larger models suffered a significant drop, the KBA data showed.
After a rebound in October, German car sales have declined progressively on an annual basis.
For 2012 as a whole, they fell by 3.05 per cent to 3.08 million models. Matthias Wissmann, head of Germany’s VDA automakers’ federation, underlined that the market gloom was part of overall weak demand elsewhere in Western Europe.
German auto exports fell by 10 per cent in February to 358,200 models, and production was off by eight per cent at 466,100.
Wissmann told reporters in Geneva that 2013 was set to be a tough year for the domestic sector.
Germany’s market is nonetheless in better shape than that of other European countries.