The German car market ended the year with a bang – to the chin. Germany had shrugged-off the European contagion for most of the year, but in December, sales sagged by an unfestive 16.4 percent.
The holiday season could have something to do with the drop. The calendar was perfectly aligned this year, providing the allegedly hard-working Germans with a two week holiday at the expense of only five days taken off. Large parts of the German population were not even in the country, let alone at car dealers.
For the year, sales in Germany are down only 2.9 percent to exactly 3,082,504 units, data courtesy of the Kraftfahrtbundesamt.
Market leader Volkswagen is down 2 percent for the year, compensated by other group brands: Audi up 6.3 percent, Porsche up 9.8 percent, Skoda up 3.2 percent, SEAT up 15.4 percent.
Opel’s sales are down 16.1 percent for the year. Ford’s 10.7 percent.
Elsewhere in Europe, Car sales in France, Spain and Italy in 2012 fell to the lowest levels in years, says Reuters.
- Italy’s car sales were down 22.5 percent in December. The year ended down19.9 percent to 1.4 million units, their lowest levels since 1979.
- French car registrations fell 15 percent in December. The full year ended down 14 percent to 1.90 million vehicles.
- Spain’s December sales contracted 23 percent. The full-year total of 699,589 cars is down 13 percent.