November car sales in Western Europe were down by 2.3% at 1.05 million units according to market analyst JD Power-LMC. However, the company said that the underlying selling rate was healthy and that Europe's mild market recovery is continuing.

 "While sales were slightly down in year-on-year terms, it should be remembered that November 2002 was a fairly strong month with an extra selling day. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the two results are closely matched indicating that sales have continued to recover from early-year weakness," said Pete Kelly of JD Power-LMC.

The seasonally adjusted annualised rate (SAAR) of sales hit 14.6 million units in November, a shade lower than the rate during the same month last year, but a significant improvement on the early part of this year.

JD Power-LMC also said that the geographical picture remains rather similar to October: sales in Spain and the UK were still very strong while sales in France were weak. The market in Italy continued to stabilise. The company added that the blip in Germany in October appears to have passed and the tentative recovery which had been in evidence for much of 2003 looks to be back on track.
 
JD Power-LMC also maintained that manufacturer incentives and a slowly improving economic backdrop have helped pull sales out of the trough and the last six months has been characterised by a level of demand broadly in line with the November figure.