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UK new car sales suffer worst Jan since 1974

NEW car sales in Britain fell by almost a third year-on-year in January to register their worst performance for that month since 1974, industry figures showed today.

The Society of Motor Traders and Manufacturers said new car sales fell an annual 30.9 percent last month to just over 112,000.

It forecast worse to come, predicting sales would fall by a fifth in 2009 after an 11 percent drop last year.

The fate of the car industry has become a hot political issue as governments around the world take measures to help the industry weather a slump in demand.

Britain last month pledged to guarantee up to 2.3 billion pounds (US$3.31 billion) of loans to the car industry.

"There is a clear need to stimulate demand for new vehicles in the UK market," said SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt.

He noted a number of EU states had launched incentives to scrap old vehicles and urged the government to adopt a similar plan.


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