German car dealers are suffering from the steep discounts they're currently being forced to offer to win customers, and from price competition from southern Europe.
Britain’s biggest retailers have reported heavy falls in sales around Christmas amid rising competition in their home market. They lost market share to Germany’s Aldi and Lidl which saw booming seasonal sales in the UK.
Japanese carmaker Toyota has been able to keep its title as the world's biggest auto maker despite fierce competition from its US and German rivals. The company sold almost 10 million units in 2013.
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has said he's been in love with cars ever since his childhood. At the helm of Europe's largest automaker, he wants to make sure VW stays ahead of the curve technologically.
In 2013 German companies spent 54 billion euros on research and development, strengthening Germany as a business location in the international competition. Above all car manufacturers are digging deep into their pockets.
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