The car sales figures for September are beginning to show a distinct change from what we have been seeing in the earlier part of this year. They indicate that the German market is showing greater strength, confirming the hints of a recovery which we had noted in our commentary on the August figures. At the same time, the figures for some of the countries that had been showing greater dynamism earlier this year are now coming in rather weaker. In short, the relative importance of the various countries in Western Europe is returning to normal, after a period in which Germany had been accounting for an unusually low percentage of total sales. The figures also show a continuation of a total West European market that is fairly stable, at a selling rate of 15 mn units/year, but for the present on a slightly declining trend. As always, this picture is complicated by a number of distorting factors, which are discussed below.
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