New vehicle sales in Germany, Europe’s largest auto market, soared to the highest total in three and a half years last month, buoyed by the extra selling day this year and a recovering economic situation.
With Germany, the most important single market on the continent finally posting positive results in the past few months, the early signs last year that Europe was finally en route to recovery become even more obvious. While the US auto market quickly bounced back after the last Great Recession, the European market slumped for six years to a two decade low figure in 2013. New car deliveries increased 9 percent in March to a total of 323,100 units, lifting the quota for the first three months of the year 6 percent above year-ago figures, according to the VDA auto industry association. “Germany is rebounding from very low levels and consumers are growing increasingly more optimistic,” commented London-based Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst. “That development can be traced across Europe.”
Analysts believe that after the six-year slump in sales, the demand for replacement cars has finally nudged the figures back into high gear. Now, Germany’s last month delivery growth can be traced back as the best increase since August 2011 when sales had skyrocketed 8.3 percent, according to figures from the KBA federal transport authority. Apart from commercial vehicles, private retail purchases also grew by around 5 percent last month, with the VDA saying the figure is a reflection of the rising consumer confidence after pay agreements were reached across the key metal and engineering sectors in February.