Spanish new-car sales dropped 52 percent in January to 41,966 units, according to the ANFAC industry group.
The result was the worst January for the market since 1989.
In addition to having two fewer selling days, automakers continued to be hit by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Between Jan. 6 and 11, Spain was also battered by storm Filomena, which forced dealerships to shut for several days, especially in the Madrid region.
Demand was also depressed by the end of Spain's scrapping program, Plan Renove, which expired in December.
Registration tax, which is applied for vehicles emitting CO2 above 120 grams per km, also increased for many models on Jan. 1, as emissions values for each car were converted from the NEDC test cycle to the more stringent WLTP procedure, which yields higher CO2 figures.
Unlike in countries such as France or Italy, the Spanish government declined to ensure that the change was revenue neutral.
According to the FACONAUTO dealer group, some private customers brought forward their purchases to December to avoid the registration tax increase.
Sales to private customers in January were down 53 percent, and company registrations (including self-registrations by automakers and dealers) fell by 44 percent. Sales to rental companies dropped by 65 percent, as coronavirus restrictions still limit travel and business trips.
To try and boost sales, industry group ANFAC has asked the government to restart the scrapping scheme.