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Record Sales: German Machine Tool Sales Grew by 33 Percent in 2011


At its recent annual press conference in Frankfurt am Main the VDW Association of German Machine Tool Manufacturers reported sales for 2011 at a record value of 13.1 billion Euros. The VDW chairman Martin Kapp said: “This is the highest increase ever achieved by our sector.”

The German market in particular enjoyed above-average growth of 38 percent. The automobile industry, their suppliers and machinery manufacturers benefited from healthy business development in several markets and re-equipped their German factories with the most modern production technology.

German machinery manufacturers increased their exports by 33.1 percent to the value of 8.1 billion Euros – a considerable achievement. The most important market was China with sales up by almost 40 percent and valued at over two billion Euros; more than three times the value of sales to the next most important market, the USA. Sales to North America were up 71 percent due to increased investment by US industry in plant and equipment. Herr Kapp added: “In particular, the automobile industry has a preference for production machinery Made in Germany.” Imports were up by 43 percent. With very few exceptions, German machinery imports increased from all the usual sources, most by two figures; led as usual by Switzerland and Japan.

Last year German machinery manufacturers reported that production ran at 93.8 percent of full capacity. In October, manufacturers reported an order backlog of about 9.5 months and extending well into the current year. The extent of this backlog is one of the highest ever. Yet in spite of operating to very near full capacity the order backlog remains little changed. Added Herr Kapp: “That bodes well for the current year.” Last year saw a 45 percent increase in incoming orders, while demand at home and from export markets increased almost equally by 46 and 45 percent respectively.

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