While the Germany truck market and industry is growing robustly, VDA president Bernd Gottschalk has warned that there is still uncertainty in the car market.

In the first three months of the year 795,100 cars were registered, 5% more than a year earlier, but while January and March were strong (March was up 6% to 356,000 units), February was weak. Also domestic order intakes in the first quarter were only up 1% on a year earlier.

"The market indicators and very mixed and in no way suggest we are on the start of a robust upward trend," said Gottschalk.

For 2006 the VDA is forecasting the car market will turn out at 3.35m units, but within that some sales are expected to be brought forward from the fourth quarter in anticipation of an increase in the value-added tax rate.

Car production is being supported by strong exports, up 12% in the quarter to 1.042m units. Production was up 8% to 1.4m units and for the full year Gottschalk expects car production to reach record levels.

Truck demand is much more robust than car demand. In the first quarter truck demand was up 16% to 71,800 units, and order intakes are at record levels. Demand for trucks over 16 tonnes was up 31% in March to 6,700 units.

Gottschalk said the VDA will revise its forecasts for the full year upwards as a result of this strong performance, and fully expects the industry to continue to benefit well into next year.