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Slow lane predicted for car sales

THERE would be no rebound in car markets in Europe and Japan before 2011, the head of car manufacturers Renault and Nissan was quoted yesterday as saying.

In comments reported by French daily Le Monde, Carlos Ghosn said the end of scrapping deals in Europe that encourage car buyers to trade in older cars for new ones would hold back any rebound in the car market.

He predicted no pickup in Europe's car industry until at least the first quarter of 2011. He said Japan would also have to wait until 2011 to see improvement.

Ghosn said the car-scrapping deals should be gradually run down rather than stopped overnight, and said the French government "is very open" to the idea.

European sales of new cars fell for the 13th month in a row in May from the previous year, car makers' association, ACEA, said last month, with only two major manufacturers -- Volkswagen AG and Fiat SpA -- selling more than last year.

Renault SA's sales fell 30.8 percent to 7.1 billion euros (US$9.8 billion) in the first three months of the year.

Its vehicle sales slumped 22 percent in Europe during the quarter, worse than the 17.2 percent European decline.


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