Reflecting troubles in Europe that have sent auto demand close to a two-decade low, the decline in German car sales accelerated last year, falling below 3 million vehicles for the first time since 2010.
The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) said new car registrations in Germany fell 4.2 % to 2.95 million last year, after a decline of 2.9 % in 2012. Even Germany’s premium carmakers BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi each lost market share, suffering sales declines of 5.8 %, 1.4 % and 5.5 % respectively.
KBA statistics showed some bright spots; with updates to Porsche’s 911 and Boxster models in recent years helped the sports car manufacturer register a 1.4 % rise in registrations. Land Rover, which launched a new range of 4×4 vehicles, was up by 11.8 % and Jaguar registrations jumped by 30.1 %.
German mass-market brand Opel lost 2.9 % market share last year while Volkswagen sales fell by 4.6 % in its home market. Compact cars made up 25.3 percent of all new sales, helping Volkswagen to retain the crown as the biggest-selling brand in Germany with 21.8 percent of the new car market.
Imported volume brands fared worse than their German rivals, with Citroen registrations down 20.6 %, Chevrolet dropping 17.7 % and Peugeot down 23.4 %.
The gainers were South Korean value brands such as Hyundai, which achieved a 0.7 % increase, and Kia, which boosted sales by 1.6 %. Japan’s Mazda was a big winner with a 10.5 % sales lift, while Volkswagen’s Seat and Skoda brands also registered strong gains of 22.4 % and 8.7 % respectively.
The blow of the overall annual decline was softened by December’s sales figures, with registrations up 5.4 % on the same month last year, in line with a trend seen in other European countries.