Germans are taking advantage of incentives to trade in diesels.

Frankfurt am Main (AFP) - Sales of new cars in Germany jumped in November, figures released by the country’s automobile industry federation showed Monday, as many drivers cashed in on discounts for upgrading old diesel vehicles.

Some 302,700 new vehicles were registered on the roads of Europe’s largest economy last month, an increase of 9.0 percent year-on-year, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) said.

“Growth was very strong in the last month… one reason is the bonuses for trading in old diesel models,” VDA chief Matthias Wissmann said in a statement.

Many German automakers have offered discounts to people trading in older diesel vehicles for a newer, less polluting set of wheels in the wake of repeated scandals over trickery in emissions data that made the cars seem less polluting than they were.

The offers expiring at the end of the year and the threat of court-ordered bans on older diesel vehicles in cities suffering especially badly from air pollution have coaxed drivers into dealerships.

Diesel’s share of all new registrations fell, from almost 45 percent a year ago to 34 percent last month, against 61.7 percent for their petrol-powered brethren.

Meanwhile, battery-electric vehicles accounted for just 1.0 percent of cars sold despite increased sales, while hybrids made up a further 2.9 percent.

Other reasons for the strong auto demand include “economic activity humming along, employment at a record high and financing available very cheaply,” industry expert Peter Fuss of consultancy EY said.

Looking to the full year, Fuss predicted 3.5-percent growth in overall auto sales in Germany, to just under 3.5 million vehicles – “the second highest level since the turn of the millennium”.

Last year however, car sales saw 4.5-percent growth.

Consumers’ interest in buying German did not let up, with 8.0-percent year-on-year growth in sales for homegrown brands in November, to 212,500 vehicles.

Meanwhile, sales of foreign-made cars added 13 percent to reach 90,200.

Figures from Germany’s KBA vehicle licensing authority showed that Volkswagen remained the biggest seller, capturing 19.2 percent of sales – more than double the share of mass-market competitors like Ford or Opel.

But VW’s sales fell 4.2 percent year-on-year between January and November, possibly reflecting buyers continuing to punish the firm after its 2015 admission to fitting millions of vehicles worldwide with software to cheat emissions tests.