By on May 3, 2013

Germany’s new car sales were up 3.8 percent in April, says Germany’s Kraftfahrtbundesamt. This is the first time in nearly a year that German car sales were in plus territory. In France, an April loss of 5.2 percent already was feted as the turn-around. Has the European bottom been reached?  I don’t think so.

Germany Trend April 2013  - Picture courtesy KBA.deJust like most of Europe, Germany had been down very hard in March. My contacts in the Fatherland say that most of what we see is a calendar effect. Easter Sunday was on March 31 this year, and many in Europe took the week off. In the Year before, Easter Sunday was on April 8, and many were on vacation in the first week of April. All considered, March probably wasn’t as bad, and April not as good as it looks.

Germany April 2013 - Picture courtesy KBA.de

Strongest gainer of the German brands was Porsche, up 16 percent. All German brands, including Opel and Ford (which are counted as German by the Germans) are up, except for  BMW (-10,2 %), Mini (-18.3 %) and Smart (-12.1 %).

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18 Comments on “Germany In April 2013: Is This The Turn-Around?...”


  • avatar
    Diewaldo

    Opel up 7,4 percent
    Chevrolet down 3,3 percent

    Well done, Opel! :-)

  • avatar

    Mentally adding BMW, Audi, Mercedesand VW you get 136k sales out of 284k. If you add Skoda, mini, Opel and others. Seems like Germans are not very imaginative in their purchases.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      lol, I suppose they don`t need to be “imaginative” when VW owns so many brands!

      Looks like the average of the past two months is needed, much like was done on TTAC for Chinese New Year. Great insight.

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      Marco,
      I’m writing this while vacationing in southern France and today drove four and a half hours on a mix of tollways, highways and secondary country roads. It gave me a good look at what the French drive and it may not come as any real surprise that 70% or so were Renaults, Peugeots or Citroens. Since the above list of brands is also available here, national pride in purchasing a car is not limited to the Germans. I would guess that such home-country bias is also true in any country, except the USA, if it has its own native auto industry: Japan, Korea, Great Britain. If true, it makes Chevrolet’s and Cadillac’s job so much harder.

      • 0 avatar

        True. It helps that the “local” makes have a more extensive dealership network and more parts availability. However, a measure of economic nationalism is very present.

      • 0 avatar

        US is not a nation state, it is a mosaic of European, Asian, African immigrants who came from different nations and have different cultures. They came to pursue the opportunity to make money, get rich or apply for the welfare. And some were brought here against their will. So where the national pride should come from? There might be a national pride in 40s – 60s, may be, but since then many things changed. In France e.g. you have the long history of nation building, wars, revolutions, kings and pride generated by historic achievements and refined nature of the culture.

  • avatar
    readallover

    I was naturally curious about this Sonstige brand…so I looked it up and discovered it means `other` in German.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I would strongly advise that company to change it’s name. Someone tried selling generic beer in a plain can with “beer” only for a label, and it didn’t sell. ;-)

  • avatar
    bd2

    YTD Hyundai and Kia has sold as much as Toyota, Nissan and Honda combined in Germany.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      No one buys Toyota, Nissan, or Honda anywhere in Europe. I have never seen any in nearly every European country I’ve been too.

      Only saw one Honda in Russia.

      • 0 avatar
        automaniak

        Welcome to Poland – Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Suzuki on every street.
        Contrary to Germany you will also see great number of French and Italian cars everywhere. Of course German cars as well ;)
        You can also be surprised how Ford, Chevrolet and Jeep are popular in PL. Not mention Koreans. Perfect mix of motor world.

        You have basic difference among 3 group of countries in Europe:
        1 – ‘Native’ car producers like Germany, France, Italy, Czech (VW Skoda), Spain (VW Seat), UK (Vuaxhall, Ford), Sweden (Volvo) – they like their own cars very much
        2 – ‘Conservative’ nations like Scandinavians and Germans – you have impression they are kind of narrow minded and full of prejudices for any brand which is not popular (I will only buy what my neighbors drive), they buy rather gossips and history than facts.
        3 – Poland, Holland, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, partly Spain – the only fully ‘normal’ countries in Europe.

      • 0 avatar

        If you are talking about Russia – Japanese brands are considered as not having good value and they do not hold value as well as Germans. One thing is that they are too expensive to maintain and part are moe expensive than for European brands. Then they are considered as a disposable cars – at certain mileage everything breaks and you have to throw car away (actually my friend here in US had similar experience with Honda Accord).

    • 0 avatar

      I remember Kia had highest satisfaction index in Germany in 90s. So no surprise here. Toyota was like most reliable car in Germany like forever. But no one likes boring cars that are much lesser value than Kia.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    The Europeans don’t really have a thing for Japanese cars (most of them anyway) like the people in the US do. OTOH I don’t think Germans ‘commute’ as much as Americans do.

    The Europeans I know all love German cars. And I have to admit for the most part they are correct – if you get the ones made in Germany they seem to be pretty excellent.

    It’s actually pretty embarrasing being an American that both the US automakers so soured the American populace during the malaise era that anyone born in the 50s and 60s hates american cars – and at the same time so many Americans won’t touch anything but a Japanese car – seemingly believing that they will all blow up at some random time in a puff of smoke..

    Part of the problem for US automakers is that so many people don’t know how to turn a wrench anymore. So they can’t evaluate cars on anything besides reputation. If you don’t know how something works you become very reliant upon opinion..

    So you have to win people back via word of mouth and reputation. That can take forever..

    • 0 avatar
      automaniak

      The problem you describe as American perfectly fits to European as well.

      Perception of German cars among many Europeans has nothing with reality, same as their prejudices to non-German brands.
      To say it shortly, German main stream brands (VW, Opel, Skoda) are not better in any point than competitors. What’s more, they have a lot of reliability problems. But historical opinion never dies …

      German premium brands don’t have real competition in Europe but still Lexus or Volvo are good cars but can’t grow up facing perfect pro-German press propaganda(by German moto-press giants). Cadillac can make perfect car and have fantastic premium DNA but all in vain.
      Infinity has really tough life as well, even Jaguar/Land Rover can lose against Germans.
      I guess the first premium brand which will make Germans nervous is Maserati with their new model program.
      Sorry, second one as Ferrari is on top in their segment since ever.


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