Germany's Car Exports Up 47% in Q1, Domestic Sales Down 23%

Germany's Auto Industry Association, the VDA (Verband der Automobilindustrie), announced on Tuesday that the country's car exports have increased by over 50% in March 2010, to more than 419,000 vehicles, over the same period last year.

"Orders from abroad have been on a growth course since August already," VDA chairman Matthias Wissmann said. "In March alone, German producers were able to book nearly 28 percent move orders from abroad", added the official.

In the first quarter of 2010, Germany exported a total of 1.05 million cars, a rise of 47 per cent over the same quarter last year. In spite of the exports upward trend, domestic car sales haven't kept up. On the contrary. After the sale-boosting Germany's clunker-scrapping plan ended last September, domestic sales fell to 295,000 units in March 2010, representing a 27 per cent drop. The government cash-for-clunkers program, launched in the first quarter of 2009, boosted sales last year but in the last months they have experienced an obvious decline.

From the beginning of the year, from January to March, 670,000 new cars were registered in Germany, representing a 23 per cent slide. However, analysts claim these numbers were in line with the predictions and that the market will need time to readjust, taking into account that sales depended on cash-for-clunkers programs because of the financial crisis. The main beneficiaries of the program were low-cost vehicle producers like Dacia, owned by Renault.

"The mood of the auto industry is brightening appreciably... We won't reach the pre-crisis level again in 2010, but we expect a good export year", said Matthias Wissmann, VDA's chairman. He added that the decline in domestic sales was in line with expectations.
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