The bad economy looks to be getting deeper over in Europe. The latest evidence is German carmakers' desperate efforts to prop up badly-lagging sales. Last month, European discounts on German brands averaged 12.2 percent. And now, Mercedes-Benz is offering a 3000-euro ($3,900) trade-in incentive to customers.

Success of the discounts has been minimal at best. September car sales in Germany fell 11 percent despite the incentives. With 25 percent of Europe's car sales coming from the Germans, some expect the drop to also pull the entire continent's numbers down to 1993 levels.

"Germany's sales results are sending the signal that we're certainly not out of the woods, but are deep in the woods and aren't going to get out soon," Jonathon Poskitt, an analyst at LMC Automotive in Oxford, England, tells Automotive News Europe. "It looks like 2013 is going to be another difficult year."

And those monthly numbers are actually rosier than reality. Sales of discounted "zero-mile used vehicles," accounted for 33.5 percent of September sales in Germany. Zero-mile cars are created in a practice by German dealers in which new cars are licensed by the dealer, then sold as used at a more than 20-percent discount. It moves inventory off the lot, but is costly to dealers and manufacturers.


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  • 38 Comments
      carguy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bring those kind of discounts for German cars across the ocean and see what happens.. Inventory would be emptied within weeks if not days..
        sjmoo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @carguy
        They already are here. I'm surprised how many people don't know how flexible pricing is on luxury cars. It is not uncommon to see $5K off this time of year as automakers try to clear out their 2012 inventory to make room for the 2013s.
      dal
      • 2 Years Ago
      To funny I just bought another new car from chrysler/dodge/jeep and paid less than $20.000 for it and ford has lots of good deals as well. who knows maybe the American car makers might be putting the hurt on imports now.
      kymeraorion2026
      • 2 Years Ago
      Their cars are too expensive
        marc.mitchell
        • 2 Years Ago
        @kymeraorion2026
        And the current design direction of Mercedes-Benz does NOT appeal to European tastes.
      T-Mille
      • 2 Years Ago
      Incentivizing new car purchases. That's very American of them.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Mike
      • 2 Years Ago
      I want those zero mile used cars.
      Myself
      • 2 Years Ago
      And yet they're still ridiluously overpriced
      ronnycorona
      • 2 Years Ago
      New car payments + comprehensive insurance coverage costs + $5 a gallon gas = too expensive. Right now it's much wiser to keep the paid off car with it's "liability only" insurance. That way you can still afford to keep it filled with gas. With Europes much higher gas prices it's little wonder why no ones buying new over there.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ronnycorona
        [blocked]
      jolietautomedics
      • 2 Years Ago
      OWNED SEVERAL, VERY DISAPOINTED HERE. ONE WOULD THINK THE EXPENSIVE CARS ARE BUILT BETTER, NOT
      sjmoo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not quite sure why this is news. You could walk onto any Audi, BMW, Lexus, or MB lot in the United States and easily negotiate at least $3,900 off the MSRP of a new car. I'm actually surprised the incentive isn't much higher considering how bad things are in Europe.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sjmoo
        [blocked]
      sidneypie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Germany has invested foolishly in expensive wind and solar energy systems and shut down cheaper sources of electrical power. Their energy bills have increased over 30% this year. Germany's Green Party policies are the source of their economic woes.
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