German new car registrations were down 2.7% in July to 258,639, according to data from the Kraftfahrtbundesamt (KBA). This is an improvement over recent months and brings the year-to-date registrations (first seven months) to 8.3% lower than a year ago.

Strong growth was recorded in the mini car segment (+14.4%) thanks to growth in Smart sales, while the upper-medium segment and upper segment saw sales fall by 7.8% and 25.4% respectively. This may reflect concerns about proposed changes to the vehicle taxation system which is likely to relate to CO2 emissions. Registrations of sports cars were nevertheless up 11.9%.

Some vehicle manufacturers have started to see sales growth. Ford sales were up 16% in July, while Smart saw sales grow 60%.

On the weak side were Volkswagen, with a 10.1% drop in sales and a fall in market from 21.3 to 19.7%. Audi sales were up 3.3%.

General Motors' Opel sales fell 7.6% but this is an improvement on previous months.

Amongst the import makes, Renault did well with sales up 10.2%. Toyota was one of the the biggest losers amongst import makes. Sales were down 12.7%, but this was less than Mazda (-29.6%) and Nissan (-35.3%).