Also 2004 was no good year, the recession has been mirrored by poor auto sales [-0.5]*.
The successes of Korean, Japanese and French importers show that conditions on Europe's most
important car market adjust to that of the 'old' continent's rest. Being the world's hardest
retail trade market, now also the car sector is becoming more difficult in Germany. Customers
pay more and more attention to bargains and the foreign manufacturers were profiting from the
reasonable numbers on their price tags. The trends of the segments of upper midsize [ 7.7
and luxury cars were positive ones. BMW has been improving balance slightly [ 7.0
/+0.8 ] but
didn't pass Audi [ 7.4 /-1.4 ] as number two amongst Germany's big three in the prestige
competition. Means Mercedes Benz [ 11.4/-5.0 ] is still number one and on second position in
the entire German auto market.
That dramatic loss of market share clearly indicates that DC will have to make impacts with the
forthcoming A- and S-class. Leader Volkswagen's result [ 18.5/-0.7 ] is better than expected,
despite serious quality problems and low demand for the Golf, including the new model. The
relatively steady interest in the aged Passat has been compensating the outcome as well as the
successful Polo. VW's small car were profiting from the general downsizing trend. Buyers obviously
rather take well-fitted smaller cars in these days of difficult economics and announced shocking
changes of social security. This trends go on the expense of the compact [ 24.1/-9.7 ] and midsize
car [ 21.3/-8.4 ] sector . On the other hand, sales of luxury vehicles [ 1.2/+4.8 ] have been
increased - except that of SUVs [ 2.6/-0.7 ].
In contrast to pure off-roaders [ 4.8/+22.8 ], this American fashion found little less friends in
2003. One tide that explains the losses in many segments is the demand for vans [ 9.7/+38.2 ]. This
practical family cars still enjoy constantly rising popularity. Thanks to smart cars with retractable
hardtops and the continuing general interest in roadsters, convertibles [ 4.4/+17.7 ] remain very
much en vogue which has caused significantly rising rates on this field. For 2004, industry
and analysts are very optimistic and anticipate rising sales. This will admittedly be achieved by means
of car sale's hell, such as incentives and aggressive discount offers! The changes in between the
classes will certainly continue, in so far as vehicles are still classifiable because cross over models
are expected to become even more popular.
* [ market share 2003 / change to 2002 ] all specification in percent.