Press Releases

Strong first quarter on domestic passenger car market

Berlin, 04 April 2018

Keen demand from private customers – Fall in production and exports

A total of 878,600 passenger cars were newly registered in Germany in the first quarter of 2018. That represents a year-on-year rise of 4 percent, and is the strongest first quarter result since 2000. According to the VDA, it was mostly private customers who were buying new cars, with new registrations by private owners adding 16 percent. In the first quarter, 37.3 percent of all new passenger car registrations were by private users (33.4 percent in Q1 of 2017). The manufacturers’ trade-in bonuses are obviously having the desired effect.

New passenger car registrations in March totaled 347,400 (-3 percent). However, the month had two working days less this year than last, owing to the Easter holiday, which means that it will be more informative to view the figures for March and April together.

March registrations of diesel passenger cars lost a quarter of their volume compared with the same month in 2017, while gasoline vehicles climbed by a good 9 percent. The diesel share among all newly registered cars amounted to 31.4 percent (40.6 percent in March 2017). In the first quarter the proportion of diesels was 32.3 percent (42.7 percent in the same quarter last year), i.e. 284,000 new cars, so new diesel car registrations were down by more than 21 percent.

Orders arriving from Germany in the first quarter were 1 percent above last year’s level, but March orders showed a 3 percent year-on-year fall. Orders from foreign customers in March exceeded last year’s result by nearly 3 percent, and in the first three months a good 4 percent more orders arrived from other countries.

The German passenger car makers built 523,600 cars in March (-8 percent). In the first quarter of this year, production reached a volume of 1.42 million units (-6 percent). The trend in exports was similar: last month 391,600 new cars were supplied to customers around the world, which was a reduction of 11 percent. This year so far, exports have totaled 1.1 million vehicles (-6 percent).

On the US light vehicle market, the German OEMs recorded positive results for the first quarter. They pushed up their sales by 5 percent to 319,300 light vehicles, while the market as a whole grew by only 2 percent. In March the German manufacturers sold 124,700 vehicles (+5 percent).

  March 2018 January - March 2018
Passenger cars *) Volume Change
18/17 in %
Volume Change
18/17 in %
New registrations 347,400 -3 878,600 4
  of which
    German makes incl. group makes 234,600 -4 605,000 3
    Foreign makes 112,800 -2 273,600 7
Export 391,600 -11 1,099,000 -6
Production 523,600 -8 1,424,900 -6
*) Estimate
Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

Tel: +49 30 897842-120 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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