German passenger car market gains in 2017
The manufacturers’ trade-in incentives announced starting in August further boosted the economic momentum. At the same time, the ongoing debate about the future of diesel had a significant impact on market structure. The prospect of driving bans in particular had a noticeably unsettling effect on potential customers. This has significantly skewed automobile market shares by fuel type. New registrations of gasoline engine vehicles in particular grew significantly. Their market share during the year was just shy of 58 percent. Diesel’s share fell accordingly. At the same time, electric-powered vehicles are becoming ever more important. Sales of battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids more than doubled to a total of 55,000 vehicles (plus 117 percent). This boosted the electric car share of the total market to 1.6 percent.
The trend to off-road vehicles and SUVs continued in 2017. This made it the most sought-after vehicle segment for the first time: 23.8 percent of new registrations were off-road vehicles or SUVs, a new record figure. Just behind, with 23.3 percent, were compact class vehicles. The upper mid-class also took a giant leap forward. In 2017 there were 18 percent more new vehicle registrations in this segment than the year before.
There were only minor changes in owner groups. The share of new registrations accounted for by private owners increased by 0.6 percentage points, new registrations by commercial owners fell by the same magnitude. That means that once again fully one third of new automobiles were purchased by private customers.