Cherished cars are big business in Germany

Classic cars in Germany are proving to be big buisness.
Classic cars in Germany are proving to be big buisness.

Catering for the growing number of classic, cherished cars on German roads is turning into a money-spinner for the country's sizeable car repair sector.

The owners of an estimated 6.5 million classic cars in Germany spend 14.1 billion euros ($19.1 million) a year on maintaining them, according to a survey by Germany's leading automobile sector federations, the VDA, VDAK and the repair shop association.

The sum does not include the purchase cost of a classic, a term applied in Germany to a vehicle at least 15 years old. The spending also excludes fuel.

Opinions in Germany sometimes differ on which cars qualify for classic status. Rare, veteran models are revered, along with certain memorable bread-and-butter cars which have all but vanished from roads.

The owners of cars aged over 25 years are granted a reduction in road tax. The lucrative cars for workshops are maintenance-intensive classics aged over 30, or modern classics from about 20 years upwards. Most of these cars are cosseted by their owners and used only on dry roads in the summer.

A survey among 1700 owners revealed that they spend between $4800-$8870 a year on keeping such leisure-only vehicles in fine fettle.

The age of cars on German roads has been increasing down the years, with one-seventh more than 15 years old, a traditional point for regarding a car as reaching the end of its economic life.

But the owners of many cars between 15 and 20 years old do not regard them as anything special. A survey showed that 61 per cent of owners of a 15-plus car treated such an ageing vehicle as a workhorse, covering an average of 11,000km a year in it. Most of these elderly cars are worth only a couple of thousand euros each on the second-hand market.

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