German dealership

Germany’s auto industry says that car sales in the country remained very weak in May despite the reopening of showrooms and the easing of other coronavirus restrictions.

The German Association of the Automotive Industry, or VDA, said Thursday that 168,100 cars were registered last month, 50% fewer than a year earlier. That’s a bit better than the 61% drop recorded in April.

Exports were even weaker. The VDA said 105,100 cars were exported in May, 67% fewer than a year earlier. While production has picked up in Germany after being all but halted at the height of European lockdowns, it was still down 66%, with 151,100 cars produced.

A 130 billion-euro ($146 billion) stimulus package drawn up Wednesday by the German government includes an increase in financial incentives for electric and hybrid vehicles. There are no incentives for cars with conventional engines, though the main value-added tax rate is being cut from 19% to 16% for six months in a bid to spur purchases across the board.