Brussels, Belgium- New passenger car registrations dropped by 27 per cent in January in Europe when compared to the same period in 2008, the ninth month in a row with a decline.

In January 2009, volumes reached 958,500 units, the lowest level in two decades.

In Western Europe, 891,505 new passenger cars were registered, a drop of 26.5 per cent compared with January 2008. Iceland recorded the steepest fall, at 88.1 per cent, followed by Ireland at 66.5 per cent. All markets faced a double-digit downturn, except for France, which was down 7.9 per cent. Germany was down 14.2 per cent, while the U.K. was down 30.9 per cent, Italy was down 32.6 per cent, and Spain dropped by 41.6 per cent.

In the new EU Member States, demand dropped by 34.0 per cent. Poland registered the most number of new cars and the smallest drop, at 5.3 per cent. All other markets declined strongly, including Romania at 53.2 per cent, Hungary at 52.3, and the Czech Republic down 12.3 per cent.

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