German motor vehicle output in June fell 14% to 444,300 units compared with the same month last year, while vehicle exports dropped 8% to 301,000 units, the VDA auto manufacturers' association said Thursday. New registrations plummeted 18% on the year to 322,000 units. Less volatile half-year data confirmed that German vehicle makers suffer from sluggish domestic demand, with new registrations in Germany down 10% on the year.

The picture for January to June also showed a 3% decline in vehicle production to 2.86 million units and a 3% increase in exports 1.90 million units, VDA said.

VDA also said that workday-adjusted passenger car production in June was down 5% on the year, compared with a 15% drop in non-adjusted terms. Taking into account a bridging day between a public holiday and the following Saturday in June, car production was about flat from the same year-earlier month, VDA said at a press conference held in Duesseldorf.

The data comes after VDA announced strong output, registration and export figures for May. Vehicle output in May jumped 16% to 535,400 units, while vehicle exports soared 20% to 359,000 units. New registrations advanced 2% on the year to 366,000 units in May, VDA said.

The May data also was distorted by the fact that the month had three more working days than the same year-earlier month.

A high stock of used cars in Germany and the surge in gasoline prices--partially a result of the ecology tax introduced by the federal government--was to blame for the continuing decline in domestic sales, the VDA said.

Turning to developments in the first six months of the year, VDA noted a divergence between domestic and international developments.

"Opportunities for the German automobile industry arise increasingly from the international business," VDA said, adding that passenger car sales in the U.S. alone jumped 15% on the year in the first six months of 2000.

This compares with an 11% fall in domestic car registrations in the period from January through June.