The German passenger car market grew by 90 percent in April to 229,700 units. The background to this strong increase is the extremely low comparative level of April 2020, when car dealerships and registration offices were almost completely closed. A 10-year comparison shows that April 2021 was also extremely weak, with the passenger car market 16 percent below its long-term average level.

In the first four months of 2021, 886,100 new passenger cars were registered. This is an increase of 8 percent compared to the same period last year, which was also impacted by the lockdown. The first four months of the current year were also less than encouraging. The market also remained 16 percent below the long-term average between January and April 2021. Around 336,400 new passenger cars have been registered by the international brands so far in 2021. The market share of the VDIK members was 38 percent (previous year: 39 percent).

Private new registrations have remained very weak since the beginning of the year. In the first four months, they were even 1 percent below the very poor level of the previous year. On a long-term average, this is even a minus of 25 percent.

Reinhard Zirpel, President of the Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, stated: “The recovery of the passenger car market continues to be a long time coming. However, given the constraints of the Corona crisis and semiconductor issues, the current figures do not reflect the true potential of the market.”

Alternative powertrains also posted strong growth in April. According to the KBA, 23,800 new passenger cars with battery-electric drive systems (up 413 percent) were registered. In addition, 27,000 new plug-in hybrids (up 381 percent) hit the roads. Electric vehicles thus accounted for an overall market share of 22 percent in April. In the first four months of the year, 193,500 new e-vehicles were registered (up 209 percent).

The market for diesel-powered passenger cars declined 21 percent to just over 208,000 vehicles in the first four months of 2021. Market share fell to 24 percent from the 32 percent level of the same period last year.

The commercial vehicle market recorded a 15 percent increase in the current year, with over 120,000 new registrations. With 31,000 registrations in April, the year-on-year increase was as high as 59 percent. Sales of heavy commercial vehicles were slightly above average, up 17 percent after four months.

April January – April
+/- (%) Share of total
car market (%)
+/- (%)
Passenger car 229,700 90 100 886,100 8
– VDIK-brands 90,600 80 39 336,400 5
– german brands 136,900 99 60 537,300 9
– other brands 2,200 37 1 12,500 46
Electric vehicles (total) 50,800 261 22 193,500 209
– purely battery-powered 23,800 413 88.500 189
– plug-in-hybrids 27,000 381 105,000 228
Commercial vehicle 31.000 59 120,300 15

Source: KBA, VDIK


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