Germany In September 2012: Brace For Impact

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

For most of the year, the German new car market could defy Europe’s eye-popping g-forces. No more. Germany is now officially going down with the rest of them. With 250,082 units sold in September, German new car sales dropped 10.9 percent as compared to September last year.

According to data released by Germany’s Kraftfahrtbundesamt, the German car market has reached its inflection point and is down 1.8 percent for the first nine months of the year. Formerly unaffected Volkswagen is down 20.1 percent. Opel is down 25.6 percent, Ford is down 22.5 percent.

If you want to see worse numbers, look for sales of EVs or hybrids. Out of the 2,358,798 car sold in Germany from January through September, only 2,023 were EVs and 15,771 were hybrids.

With France down 18 percent in September, Spain down 37 percent, and Italy under water by 25.7 percent, expect at bloodbath for Europe when the ACEA numbers will be released later in the month. Expect to to be only the beginning of a serious European crash. Also expect a return of cash-for-clunkers, which worked quite well in 2009.

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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  • OldandSlow OldandSlow on Oct 02, 2012

    Germany has managed to keep its head above water in an EU economic slow down - thanks to machine tool and luxury vehicle exports to China. I looked at the above chart - Kia sold more vehicles than they did a year ago. I would have guessed that in uncertain times there would be a boost in maybe a brand like Skoda. -

    • Mike978 Mike978 on Oct 02, 2012

      Skoda was one of the few to post an increase, +11%. I would assume they saw an increase due to some of the VW shoppers who decided not to buy a VW staying within the group. Especially since Skoda is really just a cheaper VW.

  • John Rosevear John Rosevear on Oct 02, 2012

    Wow. VW down... wow. The ACEA numbers are indeed going to be eye-popping.

    • See 1 previous
    • Fusion Fusion on Oct 02, 2012

      @th009 While I wouldn't say thats the only thing happening here, it certainly has its part. Golf sales usually are ~40% of VW (brand) sales in Germany, a strong decline in those, due to a (highly publicized) new model could affect the overall numbers.

  • Carson D I hadn't seen a second-generation Courier with a Mazda engine before. I've seen a few with Ford engines. There was one at the Cox Driving Range that they used to collect golf balls. Golf would definitely be more entertaining to watch if they used moving targets.
  • Tassos ooops, Tim, you missed this one. Would make a lovely "Tim's used car of the day". It satisfies all the prerequisites except the wildly overpriced bit.
  • Tassos ASTON AND BOND BY A MILE. While Aston Martin sells a TINY FRACTION of what even the rarified Ferrari and Lambo sell, it is unbelievably well known. Credit the idiotic, but hugely successful and sometimes entertaining James Bond Movies.
  • Tassos 1988? Too young for me. It's all yours, Tim... BAHAHAHAHA!
  • Gray Awesome. Love these. But, if I had the money for a Fox-body, there is a clean '84 GT 350 here for little more than half the price.