Spanish car sales plunge 24.1 percent in July: trade data

2nd August 2010, Comments 0 comments

New car sales in Spain plunged 24.1 percent in July with the end of government subsidies for auto purchases and a sales tax rise, a trade association said on Monday.

The figure, on a 12-month comparison and the first drop for 10 months, was half as steep as expected.

The automakers' association Anfac had forecast last week that the registration data would show a 50-percent fall.

Anfac did not explain the sharp difference in the two figures.

A total of 82,167 new cars were bought in July, down from 121,483 a month earlier and from 108,221 in July 2009, Anfac said Monday.

The June figure was up 25.6 percent over the same month last year, boosted by cash-for-clunkers subsidies which ran out last month and strong sales ahead of a sales tax increase of two percentage points that came into effect on July 1.

In May 2009 the government began offering subsidies of up to 2,000 euros (2,600 dollars) to help boost auto sales. But the programme expired earlier this month when the money set aside for it was exhausted.

Spain posted a 17.9-percent decline in new car registrations last year, following a record drop of 28 percent in 2008 as the country's worst recession in decades caused consumers to curb spending, especially on big ticket items.

During the first six months of 2010 new car registrations were up 39.5 percent to 604,161 units over the same time last year.

Anfac on Thursday had called for an "urgent meeting" with Spain's industry minister to study "possible solutions to this serious situation," after predicting a 50-percent decline in auto sales for July.

© 2010 AFP

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