Czech new car registrations fall as consumers hold on to savings

PRAGUE, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Czech new passenger car registrations fell by 6 percent year on year in the third quarter to 36,826 units as demand in the recession-hit economy ebbed, the country's Car Importers Association said on Thursday.

Europe has continued to reel from economic recession and the impact of austerity cuts with automakers warning there would be no imminent recovery.

On Monday, France's CCFA auto industry association cut its full-year market forecast as sales dropped further there and in Italy and Spain last month.

The Czech economy has in particular suffered from lack of consumer demand and consumers preferences to hang on to their savings.

Volkswagen's Skoda brand remained the market leader in the July-September period with a 30.63 percent market share, followed by Hyundai's 8.9 percent and Volkswagen brand cars with a 8.4 percent share.

The demand picture may be somewhat worse than the headline car registrations figures show.

Daily Lidove Noviny has reported there was a growing proportion of re-exports by dealers. Those cars are first registered in the Czech Republic but later exported, thus artificially inflating the domestic registrations data.

The daily said in August that out 111,814 cars registered in the Czech Republic in the first seven months of the year, nearly 17,000 were later unregistered and exported.

The association, which groups companies importing and trading in cars, said it did not collect statistics on re-exported vehicles.

(Reporting by Jana Mlcochova; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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Keywords: CZECH CARS/