The West European car market took a nosedive in January as payback from the December incentives hit home. The seasonally adjusted annualised rate (SAAR) of sales fell sharply to just 13.6 million units a year, from 15.1 million units in December. However, the actual sales year-on-year drop in January was just 0.5%. "The result looks bad but must be seen in the context of the very strong December total: January suffered from payback for robust sales in the previous month so, going forward, there is no need to panic," said Pete Kelly of JD Power-LMC.