The Baltic Business Daily reports that new car sales almost doubled in Lithuania in May as companies rushed to renew vehicle fleets ahead of new legislation which will mean companies can no longer claim back VAT on new car purchases.

Quoting figures from a market research company called AutoTyrimal, the report said that a total of 1,427 new cars were sold in Lithuania in May, compared to 733 cars in the same period of 2001.

In the first five months of the year, new car sales were 48.8% ahead of the same period of last year at 4,152 units.

The report added that Lithuania's new car sales figures for May were considerably higher than those of Latvia (912 units) but lower than those of Estonia (1,729 units).