Wheels come off Spanish market

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Automobiles sales suffer biggest drop in 15 years as economy braces for slowdown.

3 April 2008

SPAIN - Automobile sales in Spain suffered their biggest fall in 15 years as higher mortgage payments, unemployment and inflation combined with expectations of dip in house prices, led consumers to give big-ticket items a wide berth.

According to figures released on Tuesday by the National Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers (ANFC), sales plunged 28.2 percent from a year earlier to 124,698, the biggest drop since April 1993.

For the first three months of the year, sales were down 15.3 percent. While ANFAC described the fall as "worrying," it noted there were three fewer working days in March this year than in the same month in 2007. Higher car registration taxes also depressed demand.

The association said it was likely to lower its initial forecasts for the full year of a fall in sales of between 2 and 3 percent once the figures for April are released.

[El Pais / Expatica]

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