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Wissmann: 2013 will be a challenging automotive year

Berlin, 03 January 2013

As expected, new registrations of passenger cars in Germany reached a volume of around 3.1 million units for the entire year 2012. This represents a modest fall of almost 3 per cent compared with the 2011 figure (3.17 million new registrations). “We therefore regard our forecast as confirmed. The German market has proven to be much more robust than Western Europe. However, we cannot be satisfied with this result. The income and employment situation in Germany is acceptable on the whole. Yet apparently the debt crisis in the euro zone over the last two years has made customers uncertain. This persistent topic is depressing the general mood. The principle that half of doing business is psychology is now more applicable than ever. The year 2013 will be a challenging one for the automotive industry,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). The Western European passenger car market is expected to show shrinkage for 2012 of around 8 per cent to just under 11.8 million units, he added, while in the year 2013 a smaller drop may be expected to 11.4 million new cars (down by 3 per cent).

“However, outside of Western Europe automotive business is very dynamic, and the German automotive industry has a disproportionately large share in this. The global passenger car market, which expanded by 4 per cent in 2012 to exceed 68 million units, will continue its growth in 2013. We expect that this year it will be aiming for the 70 million mark. This dynamism is supported first and foremost by the Chinese market and the key market in the USA, which is now improving again. This development benefits the German passenger car manufacturers, who have pushed up their market share in China to 22 per cent and have also increased their share of the US market for the seventh year in succession. We will do everything we can to maintain and expand our world market share of around one fifth. Our prospects for growth are on the international markets,” Wissmann emphasised.

“As we have to assume that the tough situation in the euro zone will continue in 2013, our forecast for the domestic passenger car market is more reserved. In 2013 we expect to see a volume of about 3 million new registrations,” Wissmann said. The VDA president expects Germany’s overall economic situation to remain generally stable in 2013. “The gross domestic product and private consumption will also remain stable. The same applies to the labour market. This means that at home 2013 is not expected bring growth on the market, but not a collapse either. One thing is certain: the difficulties will increase. And we are preparing for them,” he stressed.

“Caught between dynamic developments on the automotive growth markets and the huge challenges in Western Europe, the German automotive industry has achieved a good overall result in production and exports,” Wissmann underlined. Over 2012 as a whole, domestic passenger car production came to nearly 5.4 million units (down by 4 per cent). “In recent months in particular, the OEMs have reduced their production by more than actually required by current market demand. The aim was to decrease stocks of passenger cars,” Wissmann said. In 2012 exports of passenger cars exceeded 4.1 million (down by 3 per cent). “Three out of four cars built in Germany are destined for export. This is further evidence of the competitiveness of our brands around the globe,” the VDA president emphasised.

In the year 2013, Wissmann continued, domestic production of passenger cars will remain broadly stable, rising slightly by 1 per cent to just over 5.4 million units. “We are buoyed up principally by the dynamism on the non-European markets, which also safeguards jobs here in Germany. During the current year exports will also show a stable trend and at just over 4.1 million units they will be slightly above the 2012 level.”

To conclude, Wissmann pointed out that the number of new registrations in December (down by 16 per cent) should not be given too much importance: “In December we had four working days less than in the same month last year, which is around one fifth.”

  December 2012 January - December 2012
Passenger Cars *) Units Change 12/11 in % Units Change 12/11 in %
New registrations 204.300 -16 3.082.500 -3
of which
German makes incl. group makes 141.300 -19 2.182.500 -3
Foreign makes 63.000 -10 900.000 -3
Export **) 263.800 -13 4.126.500 -3
Production **) 324.800 -15 5.391.100 -4
**) The previous year`s
  figures have been adjusted because of the change of the local share in value added.
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