Haven't heard a peep from the green lobby yet on August's sales figures collapse, but I suspect they'll be smugly pleased, even though tens of thousands of jobs are at risk in the car industry.

52606kia I'd also like to know what mandarins in the Treasury, DfT and trade department, the architects of bountiful anti-car legislation, regulation and initiatives, are really thinking as they watch one of the country's prime income generators struggle away.

Is it too much to hope that both officials and greenies might feel at least a twinge of remorse that their actions are helping to depress economic activity and put jobs at risk? Of course it is. As Autocar has written many times before, the car industry generates billions for the UK economy and supports millions of families, two vital facts consistently ignored by our government and anti-car pressure groups who don't give a hoot.

We have to hope the industry is resilient enough to withstand this downturn on its own, although the long-term trend is worrying. Year-end sales are predicted to be down about four per cent, equal to a market of around 2.35m new cars - still a historically high level. But the general trend since 2004 has been downwards.

There's some interesting historical perspective on this - August's sales figures are worse than those in 1966, the SMMT tells us.