Expatica news

German car sector sets export record

29 January 2004

FRANKFURT – Germany’s key auto sector marginally boosted production in 2003 to 5.15 million and also set a new export record of 3.67 million vehicles despite the stronger euro, the industry’s top executive said Thursday.

German Automobile Industry Federation (VDA) president Bernd Gottschalk noted that the production volume was the sixth year in a row that German carmakers topped the 5-million mark for output.

After a “year waiting in line” last year, the German car industry is now hoping for more of a boost in the domestic market, with 2004 sales projected to rise 3 percent to 3.35 million units, he said.

Gottschalk said the 3.67 million vehicle exports last year slightly surpassed the previous record figures set in 2001, and noted that the value of the exports made up 80 percent of Germany’s total foreign trade surplus.

At the same time, German carmakers added 9,000 new jobs to their payrolls last year, Gottschalk said.

He said that the German car industry’s expectations for an upturn in business this year are chiefly pinned on the new VW “Golf” and Opel “Astra” models now on the market.

But what was damaging the industry was the “sweet poison” of rebates carmakers are offering in the competition for buyers, Gottschalk warned.


Subject: German news