New car sales have plummeted to their lowest level since 1996, with sales in December alone dropping by a fifth, car makers have announced.
But while the global car manufacturing industry struggles, certain sectors of the replacement tyres market are surging ahead.
Etyres has recorded a sharp 40% rise in year-on-year sales growth, which supports industry analysis that companies offering low margin business models are most likely to thrive as the recession deepens.
The total new registrations for 2008 were 2,131,795, an alarming 11.3% down on the 2007 figure, while the December new-car total of 108,691 was down 21.2% compared to the previous year.
uxury cars, gas-guzzlers and large 4x4s were the main victims, with Aston Martin, Bentley and Hummer badly hit.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders predicts the picture is going to get gloomier, forecasting a further annual sales drop of more than half a million for 2009.
The news comes as car manufacturing giant Nissan announced last week it was axing 1200 jobs at its Sunderland factory in a bid to curb production in the face of falling demand.
Other car makers had extended shut-downs over Christmas and New Year to ease the burden of the sales slump.