The number of “classic cars” (new and established historic vehicles) has been continuously increasing over the last five years – by an average of 8 percent per annum – and now exceeds 6.5 million vehicles. The market for new and established historic vehicles includes annual turnover amounting to 14.1 billion euro, with maintenance and repairs to vehicles that are either between 15 and 29 years old (new historic vehicles), or 30 years and over (established historic vehicles), along with other associated expenditure. The figures do not take into account the purchase price or value of the vehicles. Classic cars represent 14 per cent of all passenger cars and privately used vans on our roads (44.7 million vehicles). And we can expect further growth in the near future. These are the results of the market study entitled “Wirtschaftsfaktor Young- und Oldtimer” (“New and established historic vehicles in the economy”), which was conducted by BBE Automotive GmbH on behalf of the VDA, VDIK, ZDK, Bosch, Vredestein, FSP (partner of the TÜV Rheinland testing agency), the insurer Württembergische Versicherung, Santander, the trade magazine “Oldtimer Markt” and the AvD automobile club. So for the first time comprehensive and reliable data are now available about the market for classic cars in Germany.
At a joint press conference in Frankfurt am Main the VDA, VDIK, ZDK and BBE presented the study, which contains statistics on classic cars prepared using data from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), based on a nationwide survey of more than 1,700 drivers of new and established classic cars, and also analysed the over 13,000 historic vehicles on offer on vehicle trading forums.
Robert Rademacher, President of the German Federation for Motor Trades and Repairs (ZDK), stressed, “The study reveals that there are three groups in the market for classic cars: the ‘genuine historic vehicles’ aged 30 or over, the new historic vehicles that are used for leisure activities, and finally passenger cars over 15 years old, which despite their advancing age are still in daily use.” It was remarkable, Rademacher added, just how clearly the market was divided into two parts, one “emotional” and one “objective.” He said that 39 per cent of the vehicles counted as either “genuine” historic vehicles (620,000 units) or new historic vehicles (1.94 million), most of which were used for leisure purposes, while 61 per cent (3.98 million units) were older vehicles still in everyday use.
“People who still drive their vehicles that are over 15 years old on a daily basis depend on this type of cheap individual mobility. The other group of users, that is, those who keep established or new historic vehicles and use them only during their leisure time, are living the ‘fascination of the car.’ They have strong emotional ties to these old vehicles. And they spend a lot more money per vehicle on maintenance, upkeep and caring for them. On average they spend nearly 5,300 euro per year on older historic vehicles, and the owners of new historic vehicles used for leisure purposes invest 2,900 euro per year per vehicle – while the drivers of new historic vehicles used every day spend only around 1,300 euro per year,” Rademacher explained. (Fuel costs and motor vehicle tax are not included in these figures.)
This is also reflected in the current average value per vehicle, as calculated by BBE during the survey. For historic vehicles the average is just over 19,600 euro, and for new historic vehicles used for leisure activities it comes to around 11,400 euro. For new historic vehicles that are still driven on a daily basis the figure is only about 2,050 euro. The annual mileages also differ accordingly: older historic vehicles cover almost 2,600 kilometres, newer vehicles used for leisure cover just over 6,900 kilometres, and new historic vehicles in daily use travel an average of 11,600 kilometres.
Rademacher said that both groups were important for the automotive manufacturers and for the motor vehicle industry: “In a few years’ time, the drivers of old used cars will buy a more recent used car – and one day a new car. So we should take the customers who currently drive older cars to work every day just as seriously as the car freaks who invest huge amounts in their beloved classic cars and their maintenance,” he stressed.
Everyone gets caught up by the fascination of classic cars, the ZDK president said, adding: “We see that every year at the numerous classic car meetings and excursions in the spring and summer. We see it at the trade shows, and it is reflected in the activities of the brand clubs and the manufacturers with their fascinating museums.”
“The importance of the market for historic vehicles of all ages is growing – not least for the specialist workshops in the German motor vehicle business. The vehicle trade, with almost 38,000 firms, naturally works to ensure individual mobility for all the customer groups mentioned here – and not least offers more modern replacements for everyday users of new historic vehicles,” Rademacher underlined.
Now, he said, many dealerships and workshops had recognised that classic vehicles also represented a field of business with a future. Across the country, there were over 1,500 companies specialising in this area. “The requirements for repairing, maintaining and restoring historic vehicles are especially demanding. This requires specific knowledge and skills, along with experience – and this is not available in every vehicle workshop,” the ZDK president explained.
“We in the vehicle trade have therefore set certain standards firms have to meet if they wish to call themselves ‘specialists in historic vehicles’. Since 2009 we have been awarding this designation to enterprises that satisfy these contractually agreed standards for maintenance and repairs of historic vehicles. We also regularly examine compliance with these standards. Across the country there are now around 500 of these specialist firms and roughly 50 trained experts undertaking their certification,” Rademacher said.
Those who want to maintain and repair classic cars must ensure that the knowledge about vehicles from yesteryear is preserved and passed on. “It is therefore very good news that now around 60 young specialists in automotive mechatronics are taking part in the pilot project ‘Additional qualifications for technicians for new and established historic vehicles.’ We hope it will prepare our upcoming generation of experts for the future business with classic cars – which are part of our culture,” the ZDK president underscored.
Dr Ulrich Eichhorn, Managing Director of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), emphasised: “The automobile was invented in Germany over 125 years ago. The strong brands of our manufacturers and suppliers practise and nurture this great tradition. This strengthens the essence of the brands. History creates and determines brand identity. It is a major part of brand differentiation, it provides orientation and it creates confidence. This long and successful story was instrumental in German automotive production receiving its own quality label that has become synonymous with the phrase ‘Made in Germany’.”
Dr Eichhorn went on to say that historic vehicles fulfilled a brand promise: “These vehicles underpin in a very emotional way the classical values such as quality and durability, innovation and timeless design. For this reason the manufacturers are looking after their historic models.”
As early as 2007, he added, the VDA had set up its Historic Vehicle Division. A special committee comprising those responsible for tradition at the passenger car manufacturers, and some suppliers, meets to ensure that classic cars can continue to run on public roads in the future. Dr Eichhorn said, “We are pursuing three main thrusts here: strengthening the public image of historic vehicles, close contact with decision-makers in Berlin and Brussels in order to benefit historic vehicles, and ensuring technical supplies and services for these vehicles.”
Dr Thomas Almeroth, Managing Director of the Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK), stressed, “The significance of new and established historic vehicles on the German market is increasing all the time. For our member companies in the VDIK, the representatives of international automotive brands in Germany, this market has ever stronger economic relevance to brand formation, management and loyalty. The VDIK, a long-standing member of the parliamentary body ‘Automobiles Kulturgut’ (‘Automotive cultural heritage’) has therefore also been involved in this study in collaboration with the VDA and the ZDK. At the Auto Mobil International (AMI) trade show, which will be held in Leipzig from 30 May to 8 June 2014, on the initiative of the VDIK a special exhibition area will be dedicated to extensive coverage of the topic of historic vehicles.”
Gerd Heinemann, Managing Director of BBE Automotive, presented the study and emphasized, “The segment of drivers using their new historic vehicles every day accounts for 61 per cent of historic vehicles on the road, yet their share of total spending comes to only 37 per cent. Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of expenditure comes from the owners of established historic vehicles and new historic vehicles used for leisure purposes. They feel passionate about their cars and see their expenditure as a worthwhile investment in their favourite hobby.”
This is a 14.1 billion euro market including the costs of maintenance, repairs and restoration along with expenditure on motor vehicle insurance, tyres, wheel rims and associated product areas such as clothing, automobilia, monthly garage fees and expenses related to tourism.
According to Heinemann, German historic vehiclesaredominated by the brands Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, with 89,000 and 80,000 vehicles respectively. The leading imported European brand is Fiat in seventh place. The top five are headed by the VW Beetle, followed by the Mercedes W123, the Opel Kadett, the Mercedes-Benz Stroke 8 and the Mercedes-Benz SL 107. “We are convinced that even if imported brands still play a minor role in the historic vehicle spectrum today, the potential of these brands should not be underestimated. The imported brands are recognizing more and more the opportunities that both new and established historic vehicles have to offer their own brand core,” Heinemann underlined.
Ulrich Köster, Press Spokesman
German Federation for Motor Trades and Repairs (ZDK)
Tel.: +49 0228 9127270
Eckehart Rotter, Head of Press Department
German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA)
Tel.: +49 30 897842120
Thomas Böhm, Head of Press, Publicity and Trade Fairs Department
Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK)
Tel. +49 6172 987535