Carmakers rely on exports to offset slow German sales

Munich. This year will see a drop of new registrations in Germany of 1.6 percent to under 3.25 million passenger cars, according to a study to be published at the IAA by the forecasting institute Global Insight.

Reinhard Hild of the Ifo-Institut forecasts zero growth with the sale of 3.25 million domestic vehicles. In contrast to 2002, Ifo expects exports to rise by 2 percent. "Exports will be the savior of the industry in 2003," Hild said.

Experts are not predicting any upturn in the fortunes of the German automobile industry until 2004 at the earliest. Global Insight expects growth of 5.1 percent and 6.5 percent respectively in 2004 and 2005.

Federal minister of economic affairs Wolfgang Clement told Automobilwoche that he saw a recovery next year. "With the third step of tax reforms being brought forward next year the demand for passenger cars will increase. I am confident that specifically the automobile industry can profit from that."

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