Return Of The Wirtschaftswunder: German Car Sales Up 21 Percent

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
return of the wirtschaftswunder german car sales up 21 percent

No, you are not hallucinating. Germany’s February car sales are out. Bottles of champagne will soon follow. Unbelievably, German cars sales rose in February by 21 percent. This is what the Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA) told Automobilwoche [sub]. 278.000 units were moved. “These are the highest February sales numbers in the last ten years, ” VDA-President Matthias Wissmann said at the Geneva auto show. “For the first time in six months, registrations are growing. We expect that domestic sales of the complete first quarter will be above prior year numbers,” Wissmann said. It’s getting even better, much better:

A lot of German cars are made to order. In the last week of January, orders jumped 16 percent. In February, orders skyrocketed a mind-numbing 63 percent.

What caused the run on the showrooms? According to the VDA, it was triggered by the reform of the vehicle tax, and especially by the extremely successful clunker-culling program. Germany’s government hands €2.5K to everybody who drives his old car to the wrecking yard and gets a new ride. Supposedly, this was only helping low-budget imports. Not so, says the VDA. Compact and mid-sized cars are selling just as briskly as small ones. Also, says Wissman, “50 percent of the customers who drive their old one to the wrecking yard end up buying German.” Volkswagen sold 23 percent more, their Czech subsidiary Skoda added nearly 75 percent. Even their Spanish ugly duckling Seat added 19 percent. According to Volkswagen’s hometown paper Wolfsburger Allgemeine, VW received orders for 125K Golfs in February, common are 40K-50K for the month. Instead of sending workers home, VW is now planning special weekend shifts to keep up with the demand. Certain Golf models have delivery times until June.

The only ones left behind by Germany’s Economic Miracle II are the luxury cars. Audi is doing OK with an increase of 0.4 percent. BMW lost 25 percent and Mercedes shed 26.9 percent in February. Their Smart marque rose by 16 percent.

All in all, giving money to people who buy cars seems to work better than handing it to people who, well, uh, buy Gulfstreams.

Detailled numbers (in German) can be found here.

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  • Grog Grog on Mar 05, 2009

    grog: Yeah but with the exchange rate, that’s worth around $500 US. We don’t call our currency the 21st Century lira for nothing. Wow, obviously you’ve been in a coma since last July. Whew, wait til you get caught up on the business news … I suggest you sit down first … Sit down because.....the dollar went from merely being worth nothing vs the euro to being worth nothing +1? Yeah, it's gotten better. Still crappy.

  • on Mar 05, 2009

    This is just a short term gimmick. You have the same problem as with the zero percent financing. Once that was implemented after 911 there was no way to go back to normal business and you pull future sales ahead. This is just a dead cat bounce. The way out of this mess is to cut government spending and taxes and that isn't supported by the voters. And so the economy is going kaput.

  • Dukeisduke Only if there's a significant price difference between it and the Lexus GX. Otherwise, no. If they do bring it over, they'll have to ditch that ugly grille.
  • Theflyersfan Chris here just gave me a big old dose of nightmare fuel with this. Let me explain... This past Saturday, driving home after doing some furniture shopping. I-64 Westbound is closed for extensive repairs in my part of Louisville so I had to take surface streets home. No problem as it's basically a straight shot from said furniture store to my domicile. Now, I had that recent spinal fusion surgery in my neck complete with four screws, some plates, artificial bone, and the chance that things might not have healed correctly so things are a bit tender and sore still. Driving home in a part of the area named St. Matthews when I pass a Walgreens. Barreling out of this Walgreens and totally ignoring the stop sign, and situational awareness of ANYTHING around him is a truck, very similar to the one shown above. Same color even. It's a four lane road - main drag through town. I'm in the inside lane and this 7,000 pound monstrosity is suddenly feet from turning an MX-5 into shrapnel. Top is down, had my wits, quickly downshift and manage to do a wild u-turn like move into the oncoming traffic lanes but avoided the hit. The neck, however, didn't like the strain and trauma and sent parts of my body into fits of limited sensations and pain. The truck driver, realizing what he's done suddenly stops. My top is down, windows are down, and we make eye contact as I pull alongside the person I have suddenly wished death on inside a flaming pit. And if I repeat the sentences of what was yelled at that jack***es face, I'll be on insta-ban here in milliseconds. He yells over, "Man, I'm sorry...I didn't see ya!" Well, ***face, learn what a stop sign means and scan the scene first. And get something that you can see over and in front instead of the blind spots that hide everyone under the age of 14 in front of the truck. So, I'm all for forcing these overdone, oversized, overfed, overstyled, guzzling, tiny-genital compensating redneck wannabe road monsters taken out back and put to rest and we return to normalcy. Made it home hurting like hell and tests were done today to check for further injury. And that Mazda can turn and spin on a dime... Try that move in that Sierra AT4XBZQZW8! whatever.
  • Dukeisduke I've read stories about that air suspension system - insanely high pressures, and crazy expensive to repair. I loved the Mark VIII's styling back then, but it definitely hasn't aged well.Also:"Mark VII was the first Mark available with dual front airbags..." Did you mean Mark VIII?
  • Kwik_Shift With qualified AA Californians set to get a million reparation dollars each, Tesla sales should soar then. 😏
  • Dukeisduke Six figures for what's basically a four-wheeled Slingshot? I don't they'll get a lot of takers, at least for on-road use.Does it have ABS or traction control? I imagine it's a snap to break the wheels loose.