Things are tough in Europe right now. Recent freezing temperatures almost ground things to a halt in parts of the continent, causing many people to become stranded during the important Christmas holiday season.
On the economic front, things have been equally glum – several member states continue to struggle with crippling levels of debt, while austerity measures have been enacted in others. In Germany, Europe’s engine room, things are also far from rosy, particularly as it relates to goods and services in the luxury sector.
As far as demand for premium cars, things are in a deep slump, with sales down more than 25 percent compared with a year ago. However, several companies, including BMW and Mercedes-Benz have cut their employees’ traditional holiday between Christmas and New Year, keeping plants and components suppliers humming along. Why? Well despite demand for premium cars having fallen off in the home market, export orders are up – specifically in Brazil, China and the United States.
According to results compiled by Autodata Corp in the US, the premium car market has seen an overall growth of 11.1 percent in 2010, with BMW sales up by 11.6 percent, Mercedes-Benz by 18.6 percent and Audi by a whopping 23.6 percent.
In China, things are even better. Currently, 9 out of the top 10 best selling luxury car brands in the country are German and the market has expanded by approximately 40 percent in 2010.
There are also signs of slowly rising demand in some European countries too – according to the VDA, the German Car makers Association, projected demand for luxury vehicles is scheduled to rise from 2.7 million to 5.5 million vehicles next year. So while German auto workers might be grumbling about shorter ‘traditional’ holidays, it appears that they’ll at least have something to smile about as we head into the new year.
[Source: Detroit News]