PORTUGAL: Car sales plunge 15 percent in Q1

By just-auto.com editorial team | 5 April 2001

Car sales in Portugal plunged 15 percent in Q1 2001 from a year earlier, due to increased interest rates introduced last year, Bloomberg News reported.

Volkswagen remained the top selling brand despite losing market share to General Motors Europe's Opel, according to the Portuguese Automobile Dealers Association.

Light passenger vehicle sales fell almost 11,000 to 63,254 year on year in the first three months of 2001.

The decline for March alone was 5.5 percent to 25,530 cars.

Volkswagen sales dropped by 7.1 percent in Q1, though it maintained 13.6 percent market share. Opel, which increased sales 1.3 percent, took 12.8 percent of the car market, the association told Bloomberg News.

Light commercial vehicle sales fell 32 percent to 20,243. Ford volume was up 9.1 percent and it overtook Renault whose sales plummeted 44 percent.

Bloomberg said that the figures supported findings by the Bank of Portugal that reduced consumer spending is leading a slowdown in the country's economy.

Finance minister Joaquim Pina Moura said this week that he expects to lower his economic growth forecast from the 3.2 to 3.4 percent announced in this year's budget, Bloomberg added.

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