Tough 2011 could mean big discounts

* Difficult sales market predicted * Honda chief warns of uncertainty * Recovery by 2015...

Tough 2011 could mean big discounts

Car makers are bracing themselves for a difficult sales market in 2011 meaning customers could be in line for big discounts.

Initial sales figures for September have confirmed that car sales are continuing to fall in the wake of the end of the scrappage subsidy and economic uncertainty, prompting Honda's managing director, Dave Hodgetts, to predict tough times ahead.

'We're certainly not predicting growth for next year, it is looking very tough,' said Hodgetts. 'There's the VAT rise coming, public sector job losses and general uncertainty about the economy.'

Car makers traditionally respond to falling demand by offering greater incentives to customers, both in terms of outright discount and by providing better finance deals.

Hodgetts added that the most optimistic predictions are that car sales won't recover to the record levels of 2007 until 2015.