* German new car sales down 17 pct in March -VDA
* German Q1 new car sales down 13 pct at 674,000 -VDA
* VW Q1 German sales down 17 pct, worse than Opel, Fiat -KBA
BERLIN, April 3 Germany's new car market may
stabilise in the second quarter, the country's main auto
association said, after a further plunge in sales in the first
quarter mirrored declines in other key European regions.
New registrations in Europe's biggest auto market fell 17
percent in March to 281,200, the VDA car makers' association
said on Wednesday, noting that two fewer working days last month
helped bring about the steep drop.
French car sales fell 16.4 percent in March while Spanish
deliveries declined 13.9 percent as consumers in recession-hit
southern European countries postponed purchases. Italian new car
sales fell 4.9 percent.
"I trust that the market will stabilise in the second
quarter," VDA President Matthias Wissmann said, noting that
first-quarter sales fell 13 percent to 674,000 vehicles.
"Germany's economic outlook is still looking robust."
The euro zone crisis has turned long-standing overcapacity
into an urgent problem for mass-market manufacturers, although
German automakers seen as having the most valuable brands are
weathering the storm better than rivals.
Still, Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker
which resisted most of last year's slump, suffered a 17 percent
drop in Germany-wide sales between January and March, worse than
declines of 15.5 percent at General Motors Co.'s Opel
division and 6.8 percent at Italian rival Fiat,
according to Germany's KBA motor authority.