German car sales fall back in June

New car registrations as well as car exports were down in Germany. ― Reuters pic
New car registrations as well as car exports were down in Germany. ― Reuters pic

FRANKFURT, July 2 — New car registrations in Germany, Europe’s top economy, retreated in June, industry data showed today, partially wiping out a rebound seen the previous month. 

Some 325,200 new cars hit the road last month, the VDA car industry federation said, a decline of five percent year-on-year.

The industry body pointed out that there were three fewer working days in June 2019 compared with last year.

Over the first six months of 2019, sales were up 0.5 per cent at 1.8 million vehicles—“the highest market volume in a first half-year this decade”, the VDA noted.

But the industry data also showed that car production was down 24 per cent in June, at 374,700 vehicles.

The sharp fall could be partly explained by carmakers’ push for higher output in mid-2018 in the months before the introduction of a new emissions testing regime.

Exports were also down 25 per cent, at 273,000 units, which the VDA blamed on “weaker orders from abroad” as trade conflicts continued to mount. 

In Germany, diesel’s share of the new car market continued to stagnate, at 32.9 per cent in June.

The popularity of diesel engines has plunged since the so-called “Dieselgate” scandal erupted at Volkswagen in 2015, and other manufacturers have also been accused of cheating regulatory tests.

By contrast, the VDIK car importers’ association noted that 48,000 electric or hybrid vehicles were sold in the first six months, up 41 per cent over the figure for 2018.

“The market for cars with alternative drive is picking up pace. But the momentum isn’t enough yet,” said VDIK president Reinhard Zirpel.

“That’s why the German car market needs further incentives for alternative drive technologies to spread,” he said. — AFP