September sales: Germany only drops by 1% image

According to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), the country’s new-car sales went down by just 1.2% to 247,199 vehicles in September, after a steeper 5% drop in August.

The smaller decline in German car sales in September strengthened hopes that weakness in Europe’s biggest auto market is easing and that the market could stabilize or improve this year.

Gains in French and Spanish car sales last month have raised hopes the worst may be over for a western European market enduring its weakest year in two decades and an industry official said Germany would also improve.

Volker Lange, president of the Germany’s VDIK import brands association, forecasts the country’s car market would to continue to further stabilize, boosted by improved consumer confidence.

“Current forecasts are citing an accelerating economy with the continued willingness of people to spend,” Lange said in a statement. “Given that, I expect that the stabilization could continue in the fourth quarter.”

Opel, Ford and Hyundai were among the few mass-market brands that gained sales last month. Opel’s September sales went up by 8%, while Hyundai’s volume jumped by 19%. Ford sales were up 1%. Meanwhile, market leader Volkswagen brand’s sales were down 2%.