Alarming declines were also recorded in Romania (-60.7%), Lithuania (-70.2%), Estonia (-64.2%). Latvia (-77.9%) and Ireland (-64.9%).
The downturn also hit the Spanish (-43.1%) and the British (-29.7%) markets as well as the Italian and French that were down 19.1% and -3.9% respectively. Among the smaller markets in Western Europe, Luxemburg (-10.4%), Switzerland (-12.3%), Austria (-12.9%) and Belgium (-15.3%) performed best.
On a bright note, German consumers responded positively to the government's incentive scheme introduced in January as sales in the first three months of the year were up by an impressive 18% over the same period in 2008.
In March, sales of new cars across Europe were down 9 percent from a year ago, marking the eleventh consecutive month in which a decrease was recorded nd and Iceland posted a decline of 64.9% and 91.3% respectively.