German car sales to top 2.9 million in 2010: federation

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German new car sales are expected to top 2.9 million vehicles this year, the industry federation VDA said on Tuesday, raising its previous forecast slightly but signalling a sharp drop from 2009.

The expected fall of about 23 percent from last year comes in contrast to strong German auto exports to emerging economies such as Brazil, China and India however.

In 2009, German cash-for-clunker susbsidies pushed up domestic sales despite a sharp economic downturn and those figures this year are weaker in comparison.

"The German auto industry is pulling out of the crisis faster than we expected," a statement quoted VDA president Martin Wissmann as saying.

"We can thus raise our outlook for the domestic market," Europe's biggest, where VDA had earlier expected to sell between 2.8 and 2.9 million vehicles.

VDA also forecasts an increase of 21 percent in exports this year and a gain of at least 10 percent in overall production.

German sales for October were expected later on Tuesday and would likely show the 11th consecutive decline, though the pace appears to be slowing a bit from earlier in the year.

Germany, like France and Italy, is the "perfect example" of a situation whereby the economy picks up while auto sales decline, German auto expert Ferdinand Duedenhoffer said.

Strong exports have given shares in leading German automakers a fillip meanwhile, and those in BMW and Volkswagen are leading gainers on the Frankfurt stock exchange's DAX index with rises of around 65 percent this year.

© 2010 AFP

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