2016 saw best German car sales this decade

2 min

Frankfurt am Main (AFP)

Carmakers sold more vehicles in Germany in 2016 than in any year since 2009, figures released by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) showed on Wednesday.

A total of 3.4 million new cars were registered in Europe's largest car market between January and December, the VDA said, around 5.0 percent higher than in 2015.

That was the highest level since Berlin offered a car scrappage scheme in 2009 in a bid to nurture the industry through the financial crisis, which boosted sales by 23 percent.

"2016 was a strong year for the auto industry," said VDA president Matthias Wissmann, noting that "registrations rose for the third time in a row."

Boosted by an extra working day in the month, December alone saw 256,600 cars registered, or around 4.0 percent more than the same month in 2015.

With cars a key industry for Germany, new registrations are closely watched as an indicator of the health of the economy.

German carmakers accounted for 2.4 million cars sold in the country last year, an increase of 3.0 percent over 2015.

Troubled Volkswagen saw registrations of its own-brand cars fall 4.3 percent, annual figures from the Federal Office of Motor Vehicles (KBA) showed.

2016 was the first full year following VW's admission that it built software to cheat regulatory emissions tests into 11 million cars worldwide.

But the VW group's luxury subsidiaries Porsche and Audi revved up sales in step with rivals BMW and Mercedes.

"Almost all the German brands showed positive signs" in 2016, the KBA noted.