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Business

Europe car slump arrives in Germany

Germany's car market shrank in August compared with the same month a year ago, ending of almost a year of booming sales. But the country's auto makers offset the losses with rising overseas exports.

The German auto market, which is Europe's biggest, contracted by 4.7 percent in August, as Germans bought 10,645 fewer cars than in the same month of 2011, the Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK) said Tuesday.

New car registrations in Germany came in at 226,500 last month, increasing total sales to 2.1 million cars so far this year.

The figure was 0.6 percent less than the number of cars sold in the first eight months of 2011. According to VDIK, it indicated that Europe's car slump, notably in the markets of crisis-stricken southern Europe, was spreading to Germany.

German car manufacturers felt the impact of shrinking markets in Europe, but countered the problem with rising overseas' sales, according to August sales figures released by the Association of the German Automobile Industry (VDA) Tuesday.

Demand in non-EU markets rose 1.0 percent in August, VDA said, boosting car sales of German manufacturers in the month to 284,400 vehicles.

"The motor of growth is currently in markets outside of Europe," VDA President Matthias Wissmann said in a statement, adding that German carmakers had been able to increase market share notably in the United States, Brazil, Russia, China and South Korea.

Wissmann also said he was convinced that the German car market would pick up speed again later in the year, reaching sales of a total of 3.1 million cars this year.

uhe/msh (Reuters, dpa)