THERE were 16.6 percent more cars sold in the Balearics last year than there were in 2009, vehicle manufacturers' association Anfac reported yesterday.
The figures showed that the sales result in the Balearic Islands was vastly superior to that for the country as a whole where a national average increase of just 3.1 percent was confirmed.
Car dealerships' association Ganvam echoed Anfac's upbeat report by saying that 2010 closed with 982'015 new cars having been sold and alleged that the success in the Balearic Islands was largely due to sales to the tourist car hire industry.
But the sales history for the year has been chequered. Both associations said that sales in December 2010 had been 23.9 percent less than for the same month in 2009.
The second half of last year had witnessed an ongoing slump since July after car subsidies provided by manufacturers, Central Government and in some cases regional government had run dry.
But the second half downturn of 27.3 percent was not quite severe enough to wipe out the boom of almost 40 percent from January to June which had been triggered by the injection of subsidies.
Industry sources said that despite encouraging localised results such as those emerging from the Balearics, 2010 had been a disappointing one.
It was the second consecutive occasion on which manufacturers and sales associations were reporting less than 1 million new cars being sold.
A spokesman explained that for a country like Spain with its average level of income and national economic potential, the figure was an indicator of poor consumer confidence and of economic realities.
Both Anfact and Ganvam were quick to point out yesterday that the purchase of a new car should be seen as an investment, not just in saving on fuel because of new technology, but also in terms of road safety and environmental pollution.