Germany’s car market is losing ground in the first quarter
Germany’s car market is losing ground in the first quarter. New registrations fell from January to March by 6.4 percent to 656,452 cars, as the Flensburg Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) announced. Even a recovery in March could not compensate for the weakness at the beginning of the year, when the expiry of the VAT reduction and the newly tightened Corona rules caused new registrations to collapse.
The German car market is still far from pre-crisis levels, explained the industry association VDA. A brake block is also that the registration offices are only able to work to a limited extent due to the corona regulations. The industry is preparing for more difficult months until business is likely to pick up again in the second half of the year with the increase in vaccinations against the coronavirus. The companies are troubled by the lack of computer chips, which paralyzed production in some plants, especially at the beginning of the year. Daimler expects that the bottlenecks will also weigh on business in the second quarter.
In March alone, new registrations increased by a good third – however, the first corona lockdown a year ago had a negative impact on business. According to the VDA, the level is still 15 percent below that of the pre-crisis year 2019. More than ten percent of all newly registered cars now only have an electric drive. There was also demand for plug-in hybrids that drive battery-electric over short distances before a gasoline engine is switched on. Their share rose to 12.2 percent. The average CO2 emissions fell by 15.3 percent compared to the previous year, but at 126.2 grams per kilometer it was well above the EU target of 95 grams for 2021.
For the first three months, the authority’s statistics showed a sharp decline for almost all car brands. Smart and Tesla were among the few exceptions that were able to record significant increases, and the BMW subsidiary Mini also made a plus. On the other hand, things went significantly downwards for Mitsubishi, Jaguar and Honda. The German manufacturers BMW, Mercedes and VW sold between a good ten and a good two percent fewer cars than a year ago. According to its own information, Daimler brought 15.4 percent fewer vehicles to customers on its home market.
Overall, sales increased by a good fifth, mainly thanks to strong demand from China. This is also noticeable in incoming orders: According to the VDA, car manufacturers in Germany have received nine percent fewer domestic orders since the start of the year. On the other hand, exports went better: Here, orders increased by a good fifth. A total of 2,021,933,600 cars rolled off the production lines in Germany in the first three months of the year, eight percent fewer than a year ago.