VDIK established trade association

Even before the Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK) was founded, an alliance had been formed within the German Federation for Motor Trades and Repairs (ZDK), the "Group of Motor Vehicle Importers". The VDIK as such was established in Frankfurt in 1952. Seven automobile importers left the ZDK and founded their own trade association. Back then, Fiat was the largest importer and - together with Austin, Chrysler, Dodge, Nash, Packard, Simca and Willy’s Overland - one of the founding fathers. Today, almost all German country organizations of international motor vehicle manufacturers belong to the Association, and currently, the VDIK represents 36 member makes in the passenger car and commercial vehicle industry.

The Association's founders wanted "... to promote and protect the general conceptual and economic interests of the importers of motor vehicles in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany including West Berlin through a voluntary association of companies engaged in the import of motor vehicles." Of course the territory now comprises the reunified Germany.

The classic areas of responsibility of the Association have remained the same: Representing the interests of the members vis-à-vis law-makers, the government, government agencies, institutions, organizations in Germany. In addition, it advises its members on a great variety of topics and facilitates the exchange of information among its membership. In doing so, the VDIK often acts as link in the information chain between the government, the European Commission, and the national head offices of the international motor vehicle manufacturers. The VDIK has always maintained very close contacts to political circles to ensure its early involvement in decision making processes. In order to facilitate these contacts, the VDIK opened a second office in Germany's capital Berlin in 2003 in addition to its head office in Bad Homburg. This enables the international automobile industry to provide input into the policy-making process, or to incorporate the requirements of the German automobile market in its production.

Moreover, the Association represents the interests of its members before the institutions of the European Commission, tackling non-brand-specific topics that affect the European automobile industry, such as, for instance, the block exemption regulation, type approval, registration procedures, and environmental legislation.

With 36 renowned auto brands from all over the world, the VDIK members cover almost the entire range of import vehicles. Their line-up more than 2,000 passenger car models including their many variations, as well as numerous commercial vehicle models. At the same time, each make maintains its individuality in the exigent German market, competing not only against the German makes but also against the other importers.

In the passenger car market, the VDIK members represent 99 percent of new registrations of all import makes, and reached annually with more than 1.3 million new registrations a market share above 38 percent. Back in the year of the Association's foundation, that market share was only 4 percent. In the commercial vehicle market their market share grew from less than 1 percent to about 27 percent and actual over 98,000 new registrations annually.

The international manufacturers have about 12,000 dealerships in Germany, and employ more than 120,000 people in these dealerships and their German sales subsidiaries. They are an important economic factor and employer for Germany. For years, the member companies have invested into their infrastructure and established European logistics, training and development centers as well as, in some cases, their European headquarters in Germany. The parent companies of the manufacturers are major customers of German automotive suppliers.

The VDIK was the conceptual sponsor of the AUTO MOBIL INTERNATIONAL (AMI) motor show in Leipzig for 25 years. The inaugural edition of the first Eastern German motor show after the reunification in 1991 already 113,000 visitors came to Leipzig. In 1996, AMI was the first event held at the new Leipzig exhibition grounds and set a new record with more than 251,000 visitors. At the peak times 275,000 visitors from 58 countries were counted, before many exhibitors changed their marketing strategies and the AMI was abandoned in 2016.