The 50-year-old suspect, who comes from Essen, is believed to have no previous police record.
The incident, which happened shortly after midnight on Tuesday in the west central city of Bottrop, injured four people.
Police said the man, who was not named, made racist comments when he was stopped and arrested in the nearby city of Essen after fleeing the scene of the attack.
A man ploughed his auto into a crowd of people in western Germany early Tuesday, injuring at least four in what appears to have been an intentional attack against foreigners, authorities said.
The German man is accused of accelerating his vehicle at groups of revellers in Bottrop and Essen, two cities in the west of Germany.
At least four people were injured, with one still in hospital, authorities said. "The man had the clear intention to kill foreigners", Herbert Reul, the top security official in North Rhine-Westphalia state, was quoted as saying by the German news agency dpa.
Tottenham win over Cardiff 'important for our confidence' - Mauricio Pochettino
These clashes against top-six sides probably won't define the Bluebirds' season and decide their fate in the relegation battle. There was just one change from the lineup selected against Wolves, with Danny Rose replacing Ben Davies at left-back.
Nasa probe extends horizons of mankind with fly-by of Ultima Thule
The mission team expects the data to be returned over the next 20 months , with an additional year of data analysis and archiving. Cold classicals are relatively unchanged relics from the solar system's beginnings, more than 4.5 billion years ago.
US Congress to reconvene with no end in sight for federal shutdown
Trump is committed for the long haul, according to administration officials unauthorized to speak publicly and granted anonymity. Trump said in a phone interview with Fox News that was broadcast during the network's New Year's Eve special on Tuesday night.
Police said those hit included Syrian and Afghan citizens, and some were seriously injured.
Eight people, including two children, were wounded in an assault that police described as a "targeted attack motivated by the driver's hostility to foreigners".
The attack occurred after midnight on New Year's Eve at a crowded plaza in Bottrop.
"Investigators suspect it was a deliberate attack that may be linked to the xenophobic views of the driver", according to a statement from local police.
On December 19, 2016, a Tunisian man plowed a truck into a busy Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people.
Earlier the driver had steered his auto at another pedestrian, who escaped unharmed, Reul said.