Motorists' plans to enter the car market appear to have stalled despite the usual boost given to the sector by the release of new number plates on September 1.
According to a survey by Sainsbury's, the number of drivers who are planning to buy a car in the next six months is at a three-year low.
In the region of 6.85 million people intend to buy a car between September 2008 and February 2009, a slight dip on the 6.86 million who planned purchases in the previous six months.
About 5.1 million plan to buy a used car while about 1.45 million plan to buy a new one.
Total spending for the next six months is estimated at £49.6 billion - a £2.1 billion increase on the figure for the period September 2007 to February 2008.
About 1.68 million people plan to spend more than £10,000 on a vehicle, while 405,000 are prepared to fork out more than £21,000.
Based on responses from 2,008 people, the survey showed that people in south east England planned to spend the most on cars in the next six months - £10.8 billion. In contrast Welsh consumers intend to spend only £581 million.
© The Press Association 2008