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German new car sales surge powered by incentives program

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

New car registrations in Germany have shot up in the first five months of 2009, thanks largely to state incentives to scrap old cars to buy new ones. The surge in Germany has driven up sales across Western Europe.

The Federal Statistical Office said on Monday that new registrations rose by 22.8 percent in the January-May period.

The Wiesbaden-based office said that this surge was a result of the government’s car-scrapping program, which pays consumers $3,520 for trading in a car trading in a car that is at least nine years old for a more efficient one. Germany imported nearly 12 percent more cars during the period than in the first five months of last year.


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European Manufactured Civic Type R to be Sold in Japan

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

The British-built Civic Type R will be exported to Japan from next year. The acclaimed 3-door hot hatch, manufactured at Honda’s factory in Swindon, England, is to be shipped to Japan where it will go on sale during 2010.

European Civic Type R

The model will be called the Type R EURO, to distinguish it from the Japanese-market 4-door Civic Type R saloon, and will be sold in limited numbers.

Japan is the third country outside Europe to import this high-revving hot hatch with the red ‘H’ badge, following Australia and South Africa. The demand for the European-produced car in Honda’s domestic market is testament to the dedication and skill of Associates at Honda’s largest European factory – the only production facility in the world that builds the Civic Type R 3-door.

Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) also builds the 5-door Civic, Civic Type S and CR-V for Europe and will start production of the Jazz, this Autumn.

Japan also imported the previous Swindon-built Civic Type-R (EP3 model) in 2001.

Source: Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

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High import duties on imported used cars in Russia creates unemployment in Vladivostok

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Almost all the cars in Vladivostok are Japanese second-hand cars.

They dominate roads across the Russian Far East and are easy to spot because, unlike most vehicles in Russia, they have the steering wheel on the right.

Sailors struggling to survive after the fall of the Soviet Union were the first to bring them in and various groups controlled the business for much of the 1990s. But at the end of the decade, the market opened up.

Almost anyone could travel to Japan, buy a used car and ship it back to be sold at a profit.

Konstantin Shatoba, deputy chairman of an association of local car importers, said the business offered a rarity in Russia: an open and level playing field.

“In other businesses, you had to deal a huge bureaucratic machine,” he said.
“But with the cars, you just had to go through customs.”

The advent of the Internet made it even easier, he said; by last year, Japanese used cars were being imported by an estimated 15,000 dealers, mostly small, family-run operations buying and selling as few as a dozen vehicles a year.

The government gradually raised tariffs, and second hand foreign cars soon cost as much as new Russian ones. But they were so much better built that people kept buying.
Sales climbed to 670,000 last year, making up nearly a fifth of all the cars sold in Russia, according to official statistics.

Sales of new foreign cars grew even faster, exceeding 2 million last year, including about 600,000 produced in factories in Russia. Meanwhile, Russian automaker sold about 700,000 new cars, down 10 percent in three years.

The carmakers lobbied to restrict imports, and their pleas gained urgency when the recession hit.

Inside the Ministry of Industry and Trade, a former auto Industry executive, Aleksei Rakhmanov, warned that carmakers in Russia faced disaster if imports of used cars were allowed to continue during the economic crisis.

The ministry knew a tariff would kill the import business, Rakhmanov said, and estimated that 21,500 jobs would be lost in the Russian Far East – a sacrifice deemed acceptable to save 1.5 million jobs tied to the domestic auto industry.

Despite the tariff, sales of Russian cars plummeted more than 45 percent through May, and the government has announced more than $4 billion in bailout loans and other aid to the industry.

Rakhmanov also acknowledged a mistake that might have been avoided in a more open political system: The ministry consulted with Russian carmakers but not with local officials in the Far East and underestimated the potential for job losses.

Old car scrap scheme sells 35,000 new cars in a month in UK

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

More than 35,000 new cars have been ordered through the UK’s old car scrap scheme since its launch in April, government figures showed recently.

The £2,000 discount funded equally by the Government and industry is available to motorists who trade in a vehicle over 10 years old while buying a new car. Actual deliveries started in mid-May and the scheme encompasses all car marques, including those built in other countries.

German exports plunge further in April

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

German exports and industrial output posted record drops in April, challenging widely-held views among experts that an historic recession in Europe’s biggest economy had bottomed out.

German officials and analysts however repeated they were confident that the worst was past, even if the road to recovery will not be smooth.

German exports plunged by 28.7 percent from last year, official data showed, the biggest drop since German records began in 1950.

Germany’s export-driven economy is in the midst of its worst recession since World War II, and the government expects gross domestic product (GDP) to shrink by a whopping 6.0 percent this year.