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Czech Q1 car sales drop on fewer company purchases

  Falling demand for company cars dented automobile sales in the Czech Republic in the first three months of 2009, pushing new registrations down by an annual 16.4%, the country’s Car Importers Association said on Monday.

“We expect that delayed purchases of company cars will start to pick up again in April,” the association’s general secrectary Pavel Tunkl said, adding that falling car prices could also boost passenger car sales. Among passenger cars, Volkswagen’s Skoda Auto sold most, followed by Ford and Renault.

The Czech economy has been hammered by falling demand for its cars and electronics in western Europe. However, the country’s largest exporter, Skoda, returned to full workweeks last month after registering rising demand from Germany due to a “scrappage” subsidy on new car purchases.

The main Czech opposition party has proposed the country introduce its own CZK 25,000 ($1,278) incentive, but lawmakers have yet to sign off on the plan. (Reuters)