Considering all Grammer’s businesses, the Automotive Division recorded a slower growth +1.7% to just under €1.3 billion in 2018 as a whole (2017: €1.29 billion), attributed to “protracted muted market conditions in Europe”, but in line with expectations. The Company’s operating profit before currency-translation effects and other non-recurring or exceptional effects (operating EBIT) stood at €76 million, close to the previous year (2017: 80 million). Operating EBIT margin was almost flat at reached 4.1%.

“Last year, we achieved our full-year targets despite difficult conditions in the automotive market. We were also able to stabilise our shareholder structure as planned. As our customers acknowledged this with larger orders, order intake reached a new record in 2018. We were able to boost Group revenue again, underpinned by both Divisions”, said Manfred Pretscher, who is Grammer’s CEO since the beginning of January. “Following the significant exceptional effects arising in the previous year and the traces that they left on earnings, we are now able to concentrate on increasing our profitability”, he added.

According to data from the German Automotive Industry Association (VDA), the global passenger car market shrunk -1% to 84.2 million registrations in 2018, with registrations in the EU remaining flat at 18 million units and China contracting for the first time in 20 years; -6% to 22.7 million cars. In the U.S., registrations are said to have remained flat, while the market was very dynamic in Russia, Brazil and India, with registration reaching double-digit growth in some instances. Global passenger car production totalled 83.3 million in 2018, down -2% according to the VDA, with sharp declines recorded in the UK (-6%) and Germany (-9%).

The VDA expects the global passenger car market to rise +1% to 84.4 million in 2019. Likewise, production is expected to rise +1% this year, with Germany and France expanding at slightly above average rates but remaining flat in the NAFTA. Production in China is forecast to increase moderately, while India is to continue to ramp up production.