The European new-car market fell by 25.3 percent, or 313,361 units, during November 2008, compared to the year-ago period, according to JATO Dynamics, a provider of automotive data. Total sales for the month now stands at 924,936 units, down from 1.2 million in 2007.

This further decline in the market, which has dropped consistently over the past seven months, sees an increased year-to-date deficit figure, in comparison to 2007. The total sales figure for the first 11 months of 2008 being 13,556,052 units – 7.1 percent, or 1,030,584 units, lower than the same period last year.

"The market is usually less buoyant at this time of year," says David Di Girolamo, business manager for JATO Consult. "Though this is an unprecedented drop in sales, it's not wholly unexpected, given the current economic climate."

As expected given the current global economic conditions, the majority of markets across Europe recorded significantly lower new car sales in November 2008 than during the same month last year. Most noticeably, Iceland's sales fell by a staggering 94.6 percent, from 1,365 units in November 2007, to just 74 units in November 2008.

Finland, however recorded sales of 77.5 percent more than a year ago, with new car sales jumping from 3,631 in November 2007 to 6,445 last month. This still represents a downturn when compared to the same month every year for the past decade, but for 2007 when the market was depressed due to imminent tax changes. This depression also explains the year-to-date rise of 9.5 percent.

Other markets recording year-to-date up-turns include Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland, thanks to strong sales early in the year.