Press Releases

Over 400,000 classic cars with
H plates on German roads

Berlin, 24 April 2018

11 percent rise in cars with H plates in 2017. Average age of German classic cars just over 42 years.

At the end of 2017, for the first time ever, Germany had more than 400,000 classic passenger cars bearing H plates (H for “historic vehicle”). Their number rose to 422,213, which was 11 percent up on the previous year. Including motorcycles and commercial vehicles, the total fleet of historic vehicles came to 477,386. This was revealed by the latest assessment of classic vehicles on Germany’s roads by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

VDA President Bernhard Mattes said, “Classic cars are very popular in Germany. Historic vehicles are enjoying an uninterrupted boom. Two thirds of them bear a German badge, but classic car lovers in Germany are also interested in models from manufacturers in England, the US, Japan and other countries. The VDA works to ensure that classic cars will continue to be permitted on public roads without any restrictions– even if of course most of them cannot satisfy modern technical standards. Yet they are part of our automotive heritage and have a very low annual mileage.”

The number of classic cars with H plates has risen greatly (+157 percent) during the last ten years. However, they account for only 1 percent of all passenger cars on German roads. On average the vehicles are just over 42 years old.

For many years the VW Beetle has headed the league table of the most popular classic cars. In all there are 36,258 Beetles with H plates on German roads. Another Volkswagen vehicle that is gaining popularity as a classic car is the Golf. In the ranking of the most common models it has climbed from eighth place in 2016 to sixth place today. However, only around 30 percent of all registered Golfs older than 30 bear H plates. Second place still goes to the Mercedes-Benz W 123, with a current total of 19,718 vehicles.

Every year the VDA analyzes figures from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). In addition, the VDA promotes appropriate political conditions for using classic vehicles as part of the automotive culture in Germany.

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