The German passenger car market grew by 17 percent in March. According to the Federal Motor Transport Authority, 281,400 new passenger cars were registered. A total of 666,900 new cars were registered in the first quarter, representing a 7 percent increase over the same period last year.

Reinhard Zirpel, President of the Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK), said: “The passenger car market is picking up noticeably in March. Nevertheless, the volume of new registrations in the first months of this year remains clearly below the long-term average. The market is supported by a continued high order backlog. As a result, the second quarter is also expected to be clearly positive. However, in view of weak order intake, this will not last. The German government’s changed subsidy policy is having a noticeable impact on electric cars. In March, almost three times as many pure electric cars were registered as plug-in hybrids.”

In March, 44,100 pure electric passenger cars were newly registered, an increase of 28 percent compared to the same month last year. In the first quarter of 2023, the number of newly registered all-electric passenger cars rose 13 percent to nearly 94,700 units. New registrations of plug-in hybrids fell sharply, as expected, following the end of the environmental bonus subsidy. In the first quarter, their number fell by 45 percent to around 37,600 units. At 44 percent, the proportion of newly registered vehicles with an alternative drive system is close to the previous year’s level.

The growth in the overall passenger car market is attributable to the positive trend in commercial registrations. By contrast, the private market was around 4 percent down on the previous year in the first three months. The share of private registrations in the overall market thus fell from 36 to 32 percent.

The commercial vehicle market remained on course for growth in March, with an increase of 15 percent. In the first quarter, growth of 12.5 percent was achieved. In contrast to the passenger car market, the current level of new registrations for commercial vehicles is above the long-term average.

March January – March
+/- (%) Share of total
car market (%)
+/- (%)
Passenger car 281,400 16,6 666,900 6,5
– VDIK-brands 107,600 10,7 38,2 252,600 2,9
– german brands 162,200 21,3 57,6 386,800 7,3
– other brands 11,600 12,0 4,1 27,400 36,7
Electric vehicles (total) 60,900 -1,4 21,6 132,300 -12,6
– purely battery-powered 44,100 27,9 15,7 94,700 13,2
– plug-in-hybrids 16,800 -38,4 6,0 37,600 -44,5
Commercial vehicle 35,000 15,3 88,800 12,5

Source: KBA, VDIK

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