New car sales in Hungary will drop sharply both this year and next as the global economic crisis pushes the country into a recession and bank credit dries up, the car importer's association MGE was reported to have said on Thursday.

New car sales are seen falling to around 160,000-165,000 units in 2008 from last year's 177,000 units and to around 140,000 in 2009, Gabor Gyozo, the Chairman of MGE told state news agency MTI, according to Reuters.

Hungary, which needed a US$25.1bn rescue led by the International Monetary Fund last month to avoid financial meltdown, has been especially hard hit in the crisis and the government expects its economy to contract by 1%, the news agency noted.

Car importers reportedly said difficulties would be worsened by the lack of bank credit and the end of Swiss-franc based car loans.

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