FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen dealers are offering Germans record incentives to buy the carmaker's best-selling Golf V hatchback, the Financial Times Deutschland reported on Wednesday.
"The rebates for retail customers have reached a level of up to 21 percent for a brand new Golf," the paper quoted Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, industry analyst at B&D Forecast, as saying.
VW was not immediately available for a comment, but Chief Executive Bernd Pischetsrieder has recently repeated his aim to improve profitability even at the cost of market share.
Officially, VW offers a loyalty rebate to dealers of 2,000 euros if a retail buyer previously owned a VW in the 48 months prior to purchase.
The newspaper reported, however, that dealers such as Bochum-based Autohaus Tiemeyer are not only passing on the 2,000 euros to customers but adding additional incentives to move cars out of their showrooms. Sales of VW's flagship Golf and its derivative Bora have risen 4.8 percent in Germany to 73,782 cars in the first four months of 2005, helped by a 21 percent gain in April, according to official statistics from Germany's KBA motor vehicle department.
Competition has been increasing in VW's home market, however.
Mercedes-Benz sold 34,012 A-class compacts in the first four months, a rise of 27 percent, while mass-market brand Opel has boosted deliveries of its Golf-rival Astra by just over 50 percent to 40,638 units.