The AutoRAI, Holland's bi-annual auto show, has been canceled as sales of new passenger cars are falling more sharply in the Netherlands than in any other European Union member country.

The organizers said in a statement that, "because of the economic development of the automotive sector, it has proven impossible to stage a full event." A separate aftermarket supplier fair also has been canceled.

"Importers and suppliers to the auto industry are under considerable pressure as a result of the economic situation," said Olaf de Bruijn, director of the RAI Vereniging, which organizes the auto show.

The organizers will look into whether a different kind of automotive event can be staged at a later date.

New passenger car sales dropped 7.3 pc in the European Union in the first 10 months of 2012 to 10,327,276 units, acccording to data from the European auto industry association ACEA. In the Netherlands, sales fell 8.7 pc to 454,273 vehicles during the period. Dutch sales plummeted 38.4 pc in October alone to 26,896 units.

Dutch market researchers Aumacon expect full-year sales to drop 12.5 pc to 490,000 units from 560,045 in 2011. They project a further 9.2 pc fall next year to 445,000 units.

Clem Dickmann, head of Aumacon, cited weak consumer purchases resulting from economic uncertainty as a major factor. Dickmann said in a press release in October that, when times are tough, people save on cars. They also can keep their cars longer because quality has improved so much, he added.

Said Dickmann: "Cars are excellent products to save money on."