FRANKFURT -- New car registrations in Germany rose 3.5 percent in September to 284,172 vehicles, German motor vehicles department KBA said on Tuesday, thanks to more robust growth among German mass market brands such as Opel.
The figures were better than the industry expected after the German automotive group VDA reported that it forecast registrations to be some 250,000 units.
In the year to date, the industry managed to wring out 3.3 percent growth after 2.50 million vehicles were registered in the first three quarters of 2005.
The VDA is forecasting total registrations of 3.3 million units for 2005.
One of the biggest winners in September was General Motors' German brand, Opel, which enjoyed a 28.6 percent gain in registrations to 33,165 units.
Opel is the biggest business of GM in Europe, where the company is trying to return to profitability for the first time since 1999.
"This is the best sales month for Opel this year both percentage-wise and from the absolute figure," said a spokesman for Opel, adding that the figures were mainly driven by strong demand for the Zafira compact van -- the second generation was relaunched this summer -- as well as the Astra compact model line.
"We're not doing anything specific in addition," he said when asked whether the strong sales figures were due to incentives often given at the end of the quarter as firms try to reach sales targets.
The spokesman said Opel did not have enough details to comment on whether the robust growth in Germany led to a broader improvement in Europe.
"Through the month of August, sales were stable in Europe," he said.
The Volkswagen brand enjoyed a market-beating 7.6 percent rise in registrations to 56,343 units in September.