Portugal’s love of cars .jpg

Portugal’s love of cars

DESPITE THE difficult worldwide economic situation, which has hit the global motoring industry hard in recent weeks and seen companies across Europe reporting drops in sales of new cars, Portugal has recorded increased sales in almost all vehicle categories.

According to data released by ANECRA, the national association of vehicle repair and sales companies, sales of vehicles in Portugal have continued to increase this year in comparison to 2007.

Between January and September this year, more than 162,000 cars were sold in Portugal, compared with 154,000 cars in the same period last year. Other categories such as heavy goods vehicles also recorded increased sales in the same time period.

Commercial cars was the only category to have recorded a drop in sales in Portugal, with sales so far this year reaching more than 40,000 units, compared with more than 51,000 units in the same period in 2007.

Statistics from the UK’s motoring sector reveal a drop in sales, which has led to a cut in vehicle production compared to last year.

In comparison to September 2007, 21.2 per cent fewer new cars were registered last month, which is the lowest level since 1999.

Overall volume is also predicted to be significantly lower than in 2007, with this year’s figures so far being down by 7.5 per cent to just under 1.8 million units.

Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), in the UK said: “New car registrations have fallen for the fifth consecutive month and represent the most difficult economic conditions the industry has faced in 17 years.”

Many car manufacturers experienced a drop in sales across the UK last month, as the credit crunch seems to be keeping buyers away, although some luxury brands such as Audi, Jaguar and Hummer and the cheapest mini categories, such as Smart recorded slight increases.

In an effort to save during this slump in car sales, General Motors began cutting vehicle production throughout Europe and extended temporary shut downs to its factory in Luton, UK and the Adam Opel plant in Germany being closed for three whole weeks.

These measures mean that the owner of the Vauxhall (Opel) brand will cut its European output by 40,000 vehicles this year than was originally planned, a decrease of 2.3 per cent.

A spokesman from Opel said: “We’re feeling the effects of the financial crisis. People are holding on to their money and not ordering cars.”