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Swedish car sales plummet in November

New car registrations in Sweden suffered their worst decline in 15 years in November, dropping 36.4 percent compared to the same month a year ago, according to new figures released on Monday.

New car registrations in Sweden fell by 36.4 percent in November compared to the same month a year ago, the worst decline seen since 1993, industry organization BIL Sweden said Monday.

“The development is very worrying and the government must now quickly take measures to stimulate the market and slow down the dramatic downturn in the car and truck industry, which is so important for the Swedish economy and employment,” said Bertil Molden, head of the BIL Sweden industry organization, in a statement.

Last month, 17,616 new cars were registered in the Sweden, a decline of 36.4 percent compared to November 2007, while 3,406 new trucks were registered, a drop of 26.6 percent year-on-year.

Registrations of all types of cars and trucks were sharply down last month, with the exception of new environmentally-friendly cars, which saw registration swell 7.0 percent to 6,612 new vehicles.

Such eco-friendly cars thus made up 37.5 percent of all new car registrations in Sweden last month, compared to 22.3 percent a year earlier.

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Who’s behind Lund’s spate of car burnings?

The university town of Lund has seen a spate of car burnings over the last ten days, and police are stumped as to the possible motive.

Who's behind Lund's spate of car burnings?
A burned out car in Lund. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Patrik Isacsson, the local police chief, said that his city was home to few of the angry, marginalized youths associated with past spates of car burnings in troubled districts like Husby and Rinkeby in Stockholm. 
 
“We have none of that sort of social unrest,” he told the Sydsvenskan newspaper. “The police have not antagonized any young guys who might want to then take revenge.” 
 
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Lund has seen eight cars set on fire in the past ten days, with the most recent, an attack on a parked taxi on Norrängavägen in the east of the city, taking place early on Monday morning. 
 
Cars have been set alight across the city, often in locations close to the city centre. 
 
Isacsson said that the police were struggling to get a lead as none of the owners of the burned cars appeared to have any relation with one another. 
 
“We just don't know,” he admitted. 
 
“We are looking at youths in gangs, we're looking at pyromaniacs, we're checking out the people who like to stand and watch when they're burning, and we're looking at people who are mentally unwell and who want to get their frustration out through lighting fires.”
 
It was also possible that the burnings were part of an insurance fraud, Isacsson said, although he admitted this looked unlikely given the apparent lack of connection between the victims. 
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