04 July 2011

Germany: Post War Car Production: 1950-2010

In 1946, car production in Germany was only 10,000 units, hardly surprising considering the war (I won't mention it again). What did surprise me was the speed production took off after that. Below are production figures since then:

1950 219,000
1955 762,000
1960 1,817,000
1965 2,734,000
1970 3,528,000
1975 2,908,000
1980 3,521,000
1985 4,167,000
1990 4,661,000
1995 4,360,000
2000 5,132,000
2005 5,350,000
2010 5,552,000

The growth has been strong with only occasional drops. Building cars in a high wage country is costly and  makes the success all the more surprising. Why Ford makes the small Fiesta there when it would be so much more profitable in a lower wage country surprises me. Opel makes too many cars there, and if GM are serious about Opel being a long term profitable unit, surely they need to move some production elsewhere.

VW is in a similar situation in being heavily committed to German production. I suppose being tied to the weak Euro helps manufacturing in the country, as its own currency would be much higher in value. This, along with high wages, would add to the pressure of being profitable.

Summary: This data shows that car production in Germany is in good health.


  1. Great blog about cars - not long ago started mine up. Very much a work in progress. Great to read from someone who knows a lot and is knowledgeable on the subject.

  2. Thank you Edward. All the best with your blog too.