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Cars sales hit new low

DEMAND for new cars plummeted to a 17-year low in Europe last year. Registration data has also revealed the biggest annual drop since 1993.

Some 590,611 new cars were registered in December, 13.8pc fewer than in November. Over the whole year, 8.95 million cars were registered, a drop of 11.3pc compared to 2011.

Past car-scrapping schemes may also hamper future sales by having encouraged consumers to bring forward planned car purchases.

Even Germany's mighty Volkswagen suffered a drop in sales, according to the figures from the European automotive industry association, ACEA.