The crisis in consumer confidence has badly affected the sales of new cars in Spain to such an extent that the average age of a car on Spanish roads has risen sharply in recent years.
Anfac, the organization of Spanish car producers, calculates that around 820,000 new vehicles will be sold in the country this year. That is around half of the number of cars that were sold in 2007 and serves to fully illustrate the effects of the crisis.
The fact that customers are delaying the purchase of new vehicle is having an effect on the age and quality of cars now running on Spanish roads. Anfac estimates that by 2012, 42 percent of vehicles in Spain will be 10 years old.
"Every year there are around a million cars with 10 years or over on the roads, as for over 10 years, the Spanish market was selling around 1.2 to 1.3 million cars a year," said Anfac spokesman David Barrientos en Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Spain has the highest average age of cars on the road in the five biggest countries in Europe and this is starting to have negative effects factors such as air pollution.
Some areas of the Spanish capital of Madrid, had witnessed levels of Nitrogen Dioxide that were above the legal limits for the year by the month of February.
"It is a worrying trip to the past in which it is not easy to insert environmental objectives or road safety in construction," commented Barrientos
Anfac believes that the next Spanish government will have to take action to prevent further deteriorations in air quality or road safety issues, given that newer vehicles have far more advanced systems which help involve potentially fatal accidents.
"If the crisis continues to close the flow of new cars onto the road, they will have to take major action about the age of cars on the road or the average will rise to unsupportable levels, up to 12 years by 2015," warn the organization
Spain's Ministry of Industry admits that new cars consume 20 percent less fuel that older vehicles, a factor that would considerably help to reduce energy costs and contamination.