Fall recorded in expected car sales

The number of people planning to buy a car over the next six months is at a three-year low, despite the unveiling of the new 58 car number plates, according to a survey.

Figures from Sainsbury's show about 6.85 million people intend to buy a car between September 2008 and February 2009, a slight dip on the 6.86 million who planned purchases in the previous six months.

About 5.1 million plan to buy a used car while about 1.45 million plan to buy a new one.

Total spending for the next six months is estimated at £49.6 billion - a £2.1 billion increase on the figure for the period September 2007 to February 2008.

The survey also shows about 1.68 million people plan to spend more than £10,000 on a vehicle, while 405,000 are prepared to fork out more than £21,000.

A spokesman said: "Unsurprisingly, given the economic doom and gloom that has dominated much of the media for the past few months, we see little change in the number of people looking to buy a car since our last index in March this year.

"One good bit of news for the industry though is that those people who do want to purchase a car are willing to spend an average of £300 more than they were six months ago."

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