Spanish auto sales drop 1.3 percent in September: trade data

3rd October 2011, Comments 0 comments

New car sales in Spain fell 1.3 percent in September from a year ago, industry data showed on Monday, as the bleak economic outlook dents consumer spending.

A total of 55,572 new cars were sold last month compared to 56,282 in September 2010, the lowest number for that month in 15 years, automakers' association Anfac said in a statement.

Over the first nine months of the year, total sales reached 623,926 units, a 20.7 percent drop over to the same period in 2010.

Rising unemployment has resulted in a strong reduction in private consumer spending in Spain, especially for a new car which for many households is the most expensive outlay after a house.

Faced with a rise in bad loans, banks have imposed tougher credit restrictions, which has also fueled the drop in sales.

The number of cars on Spanish roads that are over a decade old will rise to over 42 percent in 2012 if current sales patterns continue, its highest ever level, the automakers' association predicted.

"If market trends don't change, in the coming years we will have the oldest auto park in history, with the negative consequences that this brings to the environment and road security," said ANFAC president Luis Valero.

The Spanish economy slumped into recession during the second half of 2008 as the global financial meltdown compounded the collapse of a property bubble. It stabilised in 2010 but growth remains anaemic.

Economic output grew 0.2 percent in the second quarter from the previous three months, after a 0.3-percent expansion in the first quarter.

The economic slowdown has caused the unemployment rate to soar to 20.89 percent in the second quarter -- the highest among industrialised nations.

New car sales fell 17.9 per cent in 2009 after dropping 28 per cent in 2008, the biggest-ever annual decline.

Car sales inched up 3.1 per cent in 2010 but the rise was fuelled by a government trade-in bonus scheme that ended in July of that year when the money set aside for it was exhausted.

© 2011 AFP

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