The German auto industry federation (VDA) said Friday that it expected the number of new car registrations to rise slightly next year. "A slight increase in sales is on the cards next year," VDA President Bernd Gottschalk told a news conference. For the current year, VDA was pencilling in just over 3.2 million new car registrations after a total 2.984 million were reported in the 11 months to November. This year was therefore the fifth year in a row that new car sales had stagnated or fallen in Germany, VDA said. "It wasn't an easy year. There were no presents for us," Gottschalk complained. To meet sluggish demand, carmakers in Germany have embarked on drastic belt-tightening. Opel, the loss-making German unit of US car giant General Motors, unveiled Thursday plans to axe up to 10,000 jobs in Germany, or around a third of its German workforce. Rival car makers Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler are also prescribing stringent cost-cutting.