Germany in November: The Crash That Didn't Happen

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Pundits had prognosticated that the withdrawal from Deutschland’s Dexedrine called Abwrackprämie would cause a serious case of dopesickness, and that the market would crash. They must be disappointed by the numbers released today by Germany’s Kraftfahrtbundesamt. Three months after the last dose of the €5b of cash-for-clunker money had officially been injected into the German market, it’s still powering ahead. In November, Germans bought 19.7 percent more cars than in November of the prior year. In the eleven months of the year, Germans bought 3.59m new cars, that’s 25.4 percent more than in 2008.

Germany won’t close out the year with 4m cars sold, but it will be close. That’s a third more than the usual 3m cars sold a year in Germany.

Two items should be kept in mind:



1.) The Abwrackprämie hasn’t completely been flushed out of the system. The majority of domestically produced cars are built to order, and the Abwrackprämie has brought back “Lieferzeiten” – the periods the buyer has to wait between placing the order and taking delivery. Part of the growth is still powered by residual Abwrackprämien-money.

2.) As mentioned again and again, we are comparing now with weaker and weaker months of the prior year.

Small and cheap is still en vogue. VW sold the most cars in November (64,238 units, +23 percent,) all of Volkswagen AG sold more than 100,000 units and commands a 37 percent share of the German market. Big is coming back, cautiously: Mercedes sold 4.2 percent more Benzes than in November 2008. BMW is still in the doghouse: Minus 7 percent.

The biggest percentage gainers in the first eleven months are made up of a motley crew: Lada + 117.3 percent, Hyundai +90.4 percent, Fiat +89.5 percent, Alfa +69.8 percent, Kia +65.5 percent, Skoda +64.8 percent, Suzuki + 62.6 percent. The biggest losers: GM (excl Opel) – 55.2 percent. Chrysler – 47.2 percent. Opel held it’s own with +34.9 percent in the first eleven months, even slightly better than VW (+ 33.8 percent)

Even the used car market shows signs of life: 467,616 cars changed owners, 2,6 percent more than in November 2008.

Detailed numbers can be downloaded here (in German)

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Rando [h2]Coincidentally, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is more than $41k as well -.-[/h2]
  • Ajla "Gee, wonder why car (as well as home) insurance rates are much higher in places like Florida..." Severe weather is on the list but even if a benevolent genie reverted the climate to circa 1724 I think FL would still have high cost. Our home insurance rates have increased 102% since 2021 and I don't think weather models account for that much of a change in that period. Florida's insurance assignment of benefit regulation meant that it had ~80% of the country's of the insurance lawsuits on ~12% of the nation's claims and litigated claims can be expensive to insurance companies. The state altered some regulations and is having some success on getting more companies back, even with the severe weather risks, through relatively bipartisan efforts. With car insurance just beyond the basic "Florida" stuff, the population increase of the past few years is overwhelming the roads. But, I think the biggest thing is we have very low mandated car insurance levels. Only $10K personal injury and $10K property damage. No injury liability needed. And 20% of the state has no insurance. So people that actually want insurance pay out the nose. Like I commented above my under/uninsured coverage alone is 2.5x my comprehensive & collision.
  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.
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