Record number of historic vehicles
Classic cars continue to enjoy increasing popularity in Germany. At the turn of the year, 310,694 passenger cars with “H plates” (for “historic” vehicles) were registered, which is 31,444 more than one year before. This means that their number grew by 11.3 percent in 2014, setting a new record. The total number of classic motor vehicles with H plates – including passenger cars and commercial vehicles, tractors and motorcycles as well – is around 350,000. H plates are issued for vehicles that are in perfect working order, still in their original form, and at least 30 years old.
“The Germans just love classic cars,” explained Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). “More and more people are discovering an enthusiasm for these wonderful vehicles. They are part of our culture, they delight historic vehicle lovers, and they are often a good investment, too. These classic vehicles should be protected.”
Two thirds of classic cars in Germany bear a German badge. By contrast English vehicles, which used to be highly desirable, have lost some of their popularity. Five years ago they still accounted for 14 percent, but now they make up only 11.2 percent. American models are also in great demand among classic car fans. Rising imports from the US have boosted the number to 26,527 vehicles (an 8.5 percent share), demonstrating the highest growth rate of any country with an increase of 14.3 percent.
The classic vehicle rankings are still headed by the VW Beetle. The total of 30,676 Beetles with H plates represents a rise of 5.3 percent. The number of Mercedes-Benz Type W123 has increased by 32.6 percent (15,523 vehicles), thus greatly strengthening its position in second place. The popular Roadster R 107 series from Mercedes-Benz has also consolidated its third place with 10,296 vehicles (up by 13.8 percent). The rising star in the registrations of classic cars is the Volkswagen Golf (especially popular among younger owners), climbing by 50.4 percent, which puts it among the top ten most popular classic cars for the first time.
The ranking of the brands also reflects the popularity of vehicles from Mercedes-Benz (75,344 passenger cars) and Volkswagen (58,229). Porsche follows in third place, now with 19,277 vehicles.
The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) regularly compiles a detailed analysis of the vehicles with H plates on behalf of the VDA. The current statistics were presented right on time for the opening of the most important German classic car show – the Techno Classica in Essen.
Graphics are available for downloading from the following internet site: