‘Germans are not tired of cars’: Number of vehicles on roads continues to rise

'Germans are not tired of cars': Number of vehicles on roads continues to rise
A busy road near Hamburg on May 29th. Photo: DPA
Despite growing calls for more people to turn to public transport or cycling, cars still seem to be a favourable option among Germans.

German roads are busier than ever with an increasing amount of cars, according to new figures.

The number of cars registered in Germany's 20 largest cities grew last year. In total, there were 620,193 more cars on the roads in Germany in 2019 (a total of 47,715,977 recorded on January 1st 2020) than in the previous year.

That's according to the Center Automotive Research (CAR) in Duisburg which analysed registration figures, reported the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday.

In Munich the number of cars in the city grew by 14,554 between 2018 and 2019, an increase of two percent.  The number of registered cars also went up in Berlin (plus 0.9 percent), Hamburg (plus 1.2 percent), Cologne (plus 1.7 percent) and Frankfurt (plus 1.2 percent).

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The same phenomenon can be observed over the past 10 years: in Munich, for example, the number of passenger cars has grown by 21 percent, or 128,000 vehicles between 2009 and 2020.

Even in the cycling city of Münster, the number of cars has grown by 19 percent since 2009.

Ferdinand Dudenhöffer from CAR expects further growth of car ownership in Germany, albeit at a slower pace in view of the coronavirus epidemic. Germans are not “tired of cars”, he said.

Struggling car manufacturers will be happy to hear it – however pro-environment campaigners and city dwellers struggling with air pollution may not be so positive.

For automotive expert Dudenhöffer, however, the solution is not to ban cars from cities, but to make them “more compatible with the city's requirements” –  to “reconcile them with the city”, he said.

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Dudenhöffer said this means changing to electric cars when possible.

But “safety-oriented technologies”, such as driver assistance systems that prevent crashes, must also be introduced more.

Traffic expert Christian Hochfeld from the Agora Verkehrswende told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the increasing number of cars on the roads could be down to the older generation driving more than ever.

In contrast, younger people between the ages of 20 and 40 own fewer cars than before, Hochfeld said.


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