Czech car sales fell in the first half of the year as measures to encourage households to buy new vehicles failed to compensate for a slump in corporate purchases, official data showed on Tuesday.

Passenger and light utility car sales sank by 12.4% year on year to 92,100 units in the first half as sales to companies fell by a quarter, the Car Importers Association said in a statement cited by news agency AFP.

Passenger car sales rose 7.9% to 79,228 units due to special discounts offered by dealers amid the crisis and to tax deductions introduced in April. But growth was outweighed by a 60% slump in light utility car sales to 12,872 units.

VW unit Skoda remained the top selling car brand with 21,833 units sold, down 1.8%, followed by Ford and Volkswagen.

Imports of used cars sank 41% to 71,411 units as new car prices decreased and the koruna currency weakened against the euro, the association said.

In neighbouring Slovakia, new car sales in the first half stayed flat compared with a year ago owing to a boost from the government’s scrap-for-new scheme, the Slovak Car Importers Association told AFP.

The government earmarked EUR55.3m (US$77.4m) in March to spur more than 40,000 buyers to get a new car in exchange for their old one amid the global downturn.

Slovak authorities registered 48,187 cars in the first half of the year, only 20 fewer than a year earlier.

Skoda was the leader in Slovakia too with a market share of 16.55%, followed by Peugeot and Renault, AFP added.