* 2012 new car registrations 3.08 million
* Lowest level since 2010's 2.92 million
* December sales down 16 percent
* VDIK says 2013 sales could match 2012 level
(Adds further details, background)
FRANKFURT, Jan 3 German auto sales fell 2.9
percent in 2012 to their lowest level in two years, in line with
a trend of weaker car demand in other key markets in Europe.
New car registrations in Europe's biggest economy dropped 16
percent to 204,000 in the final month of the year, leading to a
decline in full-year sales to 3.08 million, Germany's VDIK
association of car importers said on Thursday.
Germany - home to car brands like Volkswagen,
BMW and Mercedes - has been holding up
relatively well in the euro zone's debt crisis, helped by a
resilient labour market and higher consumer confidence, while
car markets in weaker southern European economies continue to
suffer from budget cuts, tax hikes and joblessness.
But Europe's biggest car market has still felt the ripple
effects of the single currency zone's problems, with
manufacturers' increasingly offering discounts to encourage
Car sales in France, Spain and Italy in 2012 fell to the
lowest level in years, with December registration data
underscoring the challenges facing the broader European economy.
German annual car sales are seen falling further next year,
though the VDIK said the market could still stabilise.
"If the economic situation stabilises and existing
consumption extends to the car market, then the VDIK believes
new car registrations of more than 3 million to as much as the
2012 level are possible," VDIK President Volker Lange said in a
Last month, German automotive association VDA warned new car
sales in the country could fall to the second-lowest level in
more than two decades next year as the euro zone debt crisis
(Reporting by Edward Taylor and Maria Sheahan; Editing by Mark