January 11, 2009

German cars expected to hold own in U.S.

German automakers will hold their own in U.S. market share during the economic downturn, the head of the German automakers association said Sunday.

Matthias Wissman, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry, said the United States continues to be one of the most important vehicle markets in the world and German companies last year increased their share of the market by 1 percentage point to 7 percent total.

German manufacturers scored with their fuel-efficient models equipped to the highest safety standards, so they recorded better figures despite the overall downturn, Wissman told reporters at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Wissman said the appeal of German vehicles to U.S. and Canadian buyers would position their producers for the inevitable economic rebound.

The association said in a written statement that German auto sales in the United States were strong in the small-car and crossover sport utility vehicle market rather than large gas guzzlers. The new year is expected to see strong buyer interest in German clean diesel vehicles and hybrids that will meet tighter U.S. emissions standards.

"These examples underscore the fact that the model policy of the German auto manufacturers is focusing on the right aspects on the U.S. market, said Wissman.