German new car sales plunge 17 pct in March

BERLIN, April 3 Wed Apr 3, 2013 6:44am EDT

BERLIN, April 3 (Reuters) - German new car sales plunged about 17 percent in March to 281,000 vehicles, the VDIK auto industry association for import brands said on Wednesday.

First-quarter sales of new vehicles in Europe's biggest auto market declined over 12 percent to about 673,000 cars, the VDIK said in a statement, adding that the March decline reflected a smaller number of working days compared with year-ago levels.

Additional working days in April could contribute to a "better result," the VDIK said, but added that 2013 would still be a year with "many challenges" for the car industry.

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer)