But the carnage didn’t end there, as a quick look at the luxury brands shows: Bentley, Lexus, Saab and Alfa Romeo all recorded sales drops of over 40 per cent, Porsche lost a third of its UK business and even BMW a quarter. As for the mainstreams, Citroen, Ford and Peugeot were all off by over 20 per cent while, somewhat terrifyingly, Renault did less than half the business in September 08 that it did in September 07.
By comparison, Vauxhall’s 16 per cent fall – which would be viewed as a calamity at any other time – seems something of a result.
There are very few rays of sunshine here, though both Audi and, most impressively, Jaguar continued to build sales, while quite a few people have suddenly concluded that a Smart might not be such a bad idea after all, causing sales to rise by over nine per cent.
What should we, the car buying public, do about this otherwise grim outlook?
One argument is to get out there and get buying and not just as a philanthropic gesture to a beleaguered industry. The first thing they teach you in economics is that supply and demand meet at the price and with a decimated demand, prices can only fall.
This may not be reflected in quoted retail prices but you can bet dealers will be keener now to do a deal than at any time in at least the last 15 years. So rather than looking at these figures as a reason to keep out of the market, those inclined towards a good haggle should at least consider whether they do not, in fact, represent a golden opportunity to get in.