German carmakers: Sales collapse

Car sales in the US collapse:

November Auto Sales: Porsche sales drop by half (Source: Forbes)

November Auto Sales: Daimler AG’s sales decline (Source: Forbes):
Total sales at Daimler’s U.S. operations fell 29.9 percent to 15,991 from 22,819 in November 2007
Sales of Mercedes-Benz brand vehicles last month declined 38.2 percent to 14,102 while the company sold 1,889 of its two-seater Smart models. Smart was introduced to the North American market in mid-January of this year.
Mercedes-Benz USA said its best-selling model family, the C-Class, had a 36.1 percent drop-off in sales, and E-Class sales fell by 49.3 percent.

November Auto Sales: BMW sales fall 26.8 percent (Source: Forbes)

Volkswagen November U.S. Sales Fall 19% on Economy (Source: Bloomberg)

Audi U.S. November sales fall 25.4% (Source: Market Watch)

Berlin under fire as German car sales collapse

German car sales have plunged to the lowest level since reunification almost twenty years ago, increasing pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel to abandon budget restraint and back plans for an EU-wide rescue package.

Registrations fell 18pc in November, led by a drop of 36pc in Opel sales. “The crisis has again worsened dramatically,” said Volker Lange, of the VDIK motor vehicle association.

Volkswagen is to suspend production at its Wolfsburg headquarters this month. BMW has cut output in Leipsig to one day a week and Porsche is shuttering its Stuttgart plant for a week. It is just as bad in France where PSA Peugeot Citroen is halting production for a month at Sochaux, the country’s biggest industrial site.

The slump in Germany’s core industry has led to vocal criticism of the Left-Right coalition government. The Handelsbatt newspaper warned this week that the coalition faces a “rebellion” unless it faces up to the gravity of the crisis.

“We are in a situation where we cannot wait any longer,” said Hanns-Eberhard Schleyer, head of Germany’s craft confederation. “I beg the government for massive investment in infrastructure and a cut in taxes,” he said.

The pleas have fallen on deaf ears so far. Germany’s finance minister, Peer Steinbrück, is still refusing to back the European Union’s €200bn (£170bn) fiscal package, calling it fatuous populism in a thinly veiled attack on Paris and London.

“Please, Europe’s is not on the brink of collapse. To listen to some people you’d think that western civilization was going down,” he said at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels

He slammed the bail-out mindest of fellow EU minister in an interview with Der Spiegel. “Just because all the lemmings have chosen the same way doesn’t make it automatically the right way. What else would you like for Christmas?” he said.

Even so, Mr Steinbrück joined colleagues from Sweden and France in rebuking the European Commission for prolonging the credit crisis with “bureaucratic” restrictions on the use of state aid for banks.

Sweden’s finance minister Anders Borg called on Brussels to “pull off” its competition police. “We need to restore the credit channel. I think we have the risk of a huge policy mistake,” he said.

Stephen Jen, currency chief at Morgan Stanley, said Berlin had been slow to grasp that Germany may be hit as hard by this crisis as “sinners” such as Britain and the US. “Capital surplus countries like Germany and Japan that have prospered on the back of strong global demand may see the harshest decline. There will be a tremendous stress placed on these economies,” he said.

Mr Jen said Germany needs fiscal stimulus as badly as any other country. “Berlin’s policy is out of sync with the rest of the world”.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Last Updated: 8:12PM GMT 02 Dec 2008

Source: The Telegraph

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