Heckled by the gloomy global economy and the staggering costs of electrification, this vital sector of the German economy is preparing for the loss of at least 100,000 jobs by 2030.
In this end of year period, the German automobile has little heart to celebrate. Certainly, there has been some encouraging news in recent weeks for this sector, which occupies a special place in the country’s economy. On December 6, Daimler celebrated a new personal best: in November, worldwide sales of its brand, Mercedes-Benz, had exceeded the threshold of 200,000 vehicles sold in one month. The German manufacturer, and its two big rivals, BMW and the Volkswagen group (VW), are about to end the year at the highest.
On December 11, the federal automobile agency KBA announced another record, this time on the national market: between January and November 2019, 1.026 million 4x4s were marketed in Germany. Again, this was a symbolic milestone reached for the first time. And a trend is confirmed: despite recurring controversies about their ecological balance, sales of 4 x 4 have jumped by more than 100,000 units each year since 2015 across the Rhine. They now monopolize 31% of a growing national market: according to the Federation of German Automobile Manufacturers (VDA), the year 2019 should end with a 4% increase in sales of new cars. The VDA predicts that 3.57 million cars will be sold in the country this year. This is the best figure since 2009.
But, despite these few good surprises, 2019 will have been, in reality, a very poor vintage for this sector. Also according to the German federation, the global automotive market is expected to contract by 5% this year, against the backdrop of declining overall sales in China and sluggish global trade.
And, in Germany, the effects of this gloom are already very noticeable. According to a study by the University of Duisburg-Essen published on December 16, the production of cars should decrease for the third consecutive year, reaching 4.67 million units. “The global automotive industry is in recession,” said Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, author of the study. This has a direct impact on German production. “With a decrease of 8.7% compared to 2018, the number of outgoing German factory cars will fall to its lowest level since 1996, said the expert.