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FRANKFURT, April 2 — Sales for Germany’s vital car sector fell in March, data from the VDA industry federation showed today, but a look across the whole first quarter showed steady performance.
Some 345,600 cars were licensed on the country’s roads last month, the VDA said, down one per cent year-on-year.
Nevertheless, “the results turned out positive for the first quarter,” the powerful industry lobby added, with sales flat compared with the first three months of 2018 at 880,200 vehicles.
Car sales are a closely-watched gauge of the health of Europe’s largest economy, with the massive sector employing some 800,000 people at firms ranging from global giants like Volkswagen or BMW to tiny component suppliers.
The industry suffered late last year as new EU-wide emissions tests known as WLTP proved a bottleneck for deliveries from September.
Volkswagen’s “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal prompted both the new tests and a massive flight by buyers away from diesel-powered cars.
There was a slight increase in diesel sales in the first quarter, gaining 0.8 per cent to reach a 33.1 per cent market share. But they remain far short of levels seen before VW’s September 2015 admission to the deception.— AFP