STAFF REPORTER CAR sales in the Balearics have surged by between 15 and 18 percent this month, said regional vehicle dealership president, Miquel Pastor yesterday. The regional increase in sales is in line with the national average where an upturn of 16 percent has been recorded this month, breaking a trend of 31 consecutive months of falling sales.

The breakthrough is due to a central government aid package which in combination with discounts by manufacturers and further funding by regional governments has meant that car buyers can get up to 2'000 euros off a new purchase.

The economic boost has meant that dealerships have finally been able to move the stock that had been accumulating in their showrooms as a result of the recession.

Pastor said yesterday that in the Balearics some 1'000 new vehicles have been sold this month, and added that he expects the upturn in sales to continue at least for the next two months. He pointed out though that the cumulative national sales figures for the first five months of this year were down 40 percent in comparison with the same period in 2008. Pastor said he believed that if the aid package had not been provided, sales would have fallen by as much as 50 percent.

He claimed that the Balearics was the region of the country with the greatest downturn in car sales during the first five months of this year, with 55.4 percent less being sold than during the same period in 2008.

Pastor said however, that he felt the downturn in sales had now bottomed out and that he was quite hopeful about the coming months. “Money is starting to move again in the Balearics,” he claimed. “What we don't yet know is how long it is going to take for the market to recover.”