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=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> 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]
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