The Romanian car market might return in 2009 to its 2003 level, with sales of about 140,000 new vehicles, accounting for a decline by more than 55 pc from last year’s level, according to the forecast of the Romanian Association of Car Manufacturers and Importers (APIA), quoted by Mediafax. “Right at the beginning of 2009, APIA had an extremely pessimistic forecast for this year: the market’s return to the 2003 level, i.e. at about 140,000 sold vehicles. Unfortunately, the figures registered at the middle of 2009 make this scenario ever more likely. We have slightly above 70,000 automobiles, with a market total of some 79,000 vehicles,” writes an APIA release. The Association believes the situation would have been even “more serious” without the Program for the renewal of the car fleet, which sold over 11,500 automobiles, equivalent to 16 pc of the market. In spite of this, Romania’s car manufacturers and importers estimate the market evolution in H2 will be similar with the situation at six months. Against this background, Dacia exports in EU countries significantly rose in the first half-year (99.8 pc in EU15), also due to the car fleet renewal programs in these countries, reads the APIA release.