The ending of Spain's much-hyped 'Plan2000E' sales incentive programme is throwing the car industry back to 2009 when plunging sales were putting dealers on tenterhooks. 

Leading manufacturers' federation Anfac last night warned a 24% fall in July car sales supported its prediction that sales will fall 30% in the second half of 2010 if the government does not introduce new aid initiatives. It added it hopes to meet with industry minister Miguel Sebastian in September to coax the government to introduce new incentives.

Indeed, July marked a reversal in the fortunes of the Spanish auto market, Europe's third largest, as it was the first month in 10 that sales fell. The reversal was attributed to the Plan2000E removal and a rise in sales tax which triggered a 46% decline in passenger car sales to 41,863 units, according to importers' federation Ganvam.

Adding spice to a heady cocktail, Ganvam said July was traditionally the best-performing sales month and that last month's tally was similar to that recorded in 1995.

And as Spain continues to reel under one of its worse recessions in decades, auto sales are likely to fall even further, the importers' group added.