BUDAPEST (Reuters) -- Hungarian new car sales fell 10 percent in 2008 and are expected to drop further in 2009 as the domestic economy and consumption shrinks faster than expected, the Hungarian car importer's association MGE said on Wednesday.
New car sales totalled 158,600 units in 2008, compared to a year earlier, and are seen dropping to 120,000 units in 2009, MGE Chairman Gyozo Gabor told Reuters.
"The explanation is simple: the economy," Gabor said. "Even a few months ago nobody has thought our recession would be so dramatic."
Hungary's government earlier on Wednesday said the economy could shrink by up to 3 percent this year, more than an earlier forecast for 1 percent and new measures may be needed to contain the budget.
"For car sales, I don't see any chance for any sort of recovery before the second half of 2010," Gabor said. "Families are worried about losing jobs, losing their homes and are not thinking about buying new cars."
Central Bank Governor Andras Simor earlier predicted that up to a 100,000 Hungarians could lose their jobs in the current recession, which some analysts said would push the unemployment rate above 10 percent.