Poll: Industry frustrated so far with 2003, but optimistic

Wiesbaden. Many dealers and suppliers in Germany are frustrated with the current business year so far, but they are slightly more optimistic about the final stage of 2003.

That is the result of the quarterly poll undertaken for Automobilwoche by Wiesbaden business consultants ACON, which queried manufacturers, suppliers, dealers and financial service providers.

"At the moment the industry's upswing is still more wishful thinking than reality," said ACON board member Juergen Freitaeger summarizing the study results.

While the industry saw a glimmer of hope with the positive response of the IAA in Frankfurt, most of the people questioned think it will be spring before the increased interest in new cars translates into more sales.

Dealers, who were generally very positive about the third quarter, believe that consumer habits will improve only slightly during the coming months. Manufacturers and importers are less positive.

Financial service providers and suppliers are the most optimistic. Changes are usually perceived at an early stage for both sectors, as the number of loan applications or supply contracts increases.

Suppliers, who during the second quarter were almost depressed with their situation, seem to have new hope, bolstered by positive export prospects and some OEM announcements that they would continue to reduce vertical integration.

Freitaeger said the hoped-for economic upswing is dependant on overall conditions, including fuel prices, tax laws and unemployment.