German car companies won in April as domestic sales rose 2.9 percent, bucking a wider euro zone trend of declining sales, but exports of German-made cars fell substantially last month.
Registrations of new cars in Germany rose 2.9 percent from the year before to reach 274,066 in April, a report from the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), Germany's Federal motor transport authority, according to Automotive News Europe. For the first four months of the year, new car registrations, the best measure of new car sales in Germany, were up 1.8 percent to 1.05 million, in part due to the pull of the redesigned BMW 1 series.
The big three German car companies, Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen AG (PINK: VLKAY), Daimler AG (FRA: DAI) and BMW AG (FRA: BMW), all reported strong quarterly earnings. Volkswagen profit rose 10.2 percent to €3.2 billion ($4.2 billion). Munich-based BMW reported earnings up 18.1 percent to €1.35 billion ($1.77 billion). Stuttgart-based Daimler reported profit up 20 percent to €1.42 billion ($1.87 billion).
Germany was an outlier as car sales in other major euro zone economies fell precipitously in April, according to Automotive News Europe. Europe's continued economic and debt woes have left consumer confidence in the dumps for some time and unemployment on the continent is high. French sales dropped 1.3 percent to 200,806 vehicles in April, following a 22 percent collapse in March. Likewise, Italian sales plummeted 17.9 percent in April to 129,633, while Spanish sales fell even further, dropping 21.7 percent to 56,250.
Strong domestic sales were offset by weaker exports by German carmakers in April. Exports fell 14 percent in April to 323,000 vehicles according to Expatica DE. The drop in exports was mirrored by a similar drop in production which fell 10 percent to 425,600 vehicles. The fall in exports comes as more cars are produced locally for the Chinese market, rather than being made in Germany and then shipped overseas.