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German motor trade federation issues end-of-year data

Reporting on a stagnating market in 2003, the German ZDK notes shrinking dealer numbers.

Among data from its dealer members released by the ZDK this week, a slight increase of 0.7% in average turnover was greeted with surprise given static vehicle sale prices, which averaged €22,360 for new cars and €8,220 for used. Total vehicle sales last year were estimated to be worth around €125 billion.

ZDK members' charges for servicing averaged €240 last year against €230 in 2002, while repair bills of €194 compared with €162 a year earlier. Charge-out rates rose 1.4% to just short of €60 per hour, but the ZDK blamed widening variations on manufacturers' service standards in new contracts, some of which it described as insensitive to the market.

Total numbers employed by ZDK members dropped from 500,200 in 2002 to fewer than 490,000 last year, while about 1,400 member businesses ceased trading, and an increase in business insolvencies indicated that for the German dealer body, “the ice is getting ever thinner” .

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