Germany’s main automobile industry body, the VDA, said it expects global car sales to fall by 5% this year, the steepest drop since the financial crisis, and warned of more job cuts in 2020 as a result.
Germany’s export-dependent car industry is struggling with weaker foreign demand, tariff disputes sparked by U.S. President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policies and business uncertainty linked to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
The sector, an important driver of overall growth in Europe’s largest economy, is also having trouble adjusting to stricter regulation following an emissions-cheating scandal and managing a broader shift away from combustion engines toward electric cars.
In 2018, employment in the car industry in Germany reached 834,000, its highest level since 1991.
VDA expects car sales in Germany to fall by 4% to 3.43 million in 2020 and to drop by 2% to 15.3 million in Europe.