German Car Exports Up In December

Industry group said 276,900 cars were exported last month, a 23 percent rise over December 2008, but for the whole of 2009, exports were down 17 percent.

BERLIN (AP) -- German car exports were up by nearly a quarter in the year to December as global economic gloom lightened, but new registrations at home were down after a car-scrapping bonus program ended, an industry group said Tuesday.

The VDA group said 276,900 cars were exported last month, a 23 percent rise over December 2008. Still, for the whole of 2009, exports were down 17 percent to 3.41 million.

VDA president Matthias Wissmann said that the upward trend in exports was strengthening and "we expect this development to continue in the coming months."

That will stabilize production at home, as three-quarters of cars produced in Germany are exported, he added in a statement.

Germany is home to car makers such as Daimler AG, Porsche SE, Volkswagen AG and BMW AG.

Total new car registrations in Germany itself -- including those of imported cars -- were down 5 percent on the year in December at 215,400, VDA said. However, for the whole of 2009, they were up 23 percent at nearly 3.81 million.

A German government car-scrapping bonus plan expired at the beginning of September after giving sales of new cars a boost for much of this year.

Car production in Germany was up 24 percent in December to 346,900 vehicles; but for the whole year, production dropped 10 percent to 4.96 million cars.

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