In a country where one in every seven jobs depends on the automobile and every fourth Deutsche Mark of tax income comes from it, the auto industry is not to be taken lightly.
Car sales in Germany could have been better but exports reached record highs
The President of the automobile industry federation VDA, Bernd Gottschalk, told German daily paper Leipziger Volkszeitung that 2001 sales hit 200 billion euro (175 billion US dollars) worldwide. Exports reached record levels at 3.6 million units. However, automobile sales in Germany were down.
Despite the global slowdown and job losses, Germany's car makers created 18 thousand new jobs, bringing the total working in the industry to 770 thousand. "The auto industry is a stable element in the German economy," said Gottschalk.
Approximately 5.3 million passenger cars are expected to have been produced this year. This is close to the all time production high in 1998. However, the number of new registrations within Germany fell by 3.35 million.
"The recession (in the automobile industry) last year has a left a bitter after taste. Although the automobile industry did much better than many initially feared," commented the VDA president.
Exports in particular did much better than expected. Exports to Great Britain increased by 10 percent and by five percent in France. "These markets are far more dynamic than Germany’s," commented Gottschalk.
"The cost of owning a car in Germany has reached its limit," he said referring to the eco-tax, car tax and costly insurance policies that car owners are expected to pay in Germany. For him, these are the reasons that prevent many Germans from purchasing automobiles and the cause for the decline in new registrations.