Clunker bonus gives Opel great year

Clunker bonus gives Opel great year
Photo: DPA
German carmaker Opel, which was rocked this year by industrial uncertainty, said Tuesday that its German sales gained 31 percent in 2009 owing to a government cash-for-clunkers scrapping bonus.

Opel said the sale of 339,000 vehicles was its best result since 2005 and gave it a domestic market share of 8.9 percent.

While its US parent company General Motors weighed selling the loss-making division, Opel benefitted from state aid worth €2,500 for drivers who junked their old cars and bought new ones. The scheme was a boost in particular to manufacturers of inexpensive vehicles.

GM was set to sell Opel in September to the Canadian auto parts group Magna International and its Russian partner Sberbank but decided to hang on to the German unit and its British sister brand Vauxhall in a dramatic decision made early November.

For 2010, many car makers have forecast slumping sales however as variants of the car scrapping plan implemented worldwide are wound down.

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