German new car sales set for slightly better 2014

BERLIN - New car sales in Germany are expected to show a 5.0-per cent drop in 2013 but to recover slightly next year, trade officials said Tuesday.

The number of new car registrations, a key measure of demand in one of the most crucial sectors of Europe's top economy, is set to reach 2.93 million for all of this year, the VDA automotive industry federation said.

While expressing dissatisfaction with the figure, VDA president Matthias Wissmann said that "the slow stabilisation of the German market is continuing".

The federation expects about three million new car sales in 2014, he said, adding that "we are relatively confident concerning the new year".

Driven by markets in China and the US, the export of German cars this year is set to grow by one per cent to 4.18 million units, the VDA said, adding that it expected the figure to remain stable in 2014.

"Demand for German models, and notably for the top-of-the-range, exceeds expectations in places," Wissmann said.

Several German carmakers plan to shorten end-of-year time-off for employees or introduce extra shifts in order to be able to meet demand, he said, confirming media reports but not giving details.

Questioned by AFP, Audi said it had already negotiated with its works council on introducing additional shifts this month and in January.

The fortunes of German made top-end cars in Germany itself, however, have not been so rosy this year, separate data showed Tuesday.

New registrations of Mercedes fell by 0.6 per cent for the January-November period, while they fell four per cent for BMW and six per cent for Audi, the KBA office of new car registrations showed.