A new report predicts a double-digit drop in global auto sales on a year-to-year basis will continue through the first half of 2009.

Scotia Economics says, however, that it expects purchases to stabilize in the second half, limiting the slump to an average of eight per cent for 2009.

Senior economist Carlos Gomes says the fall-off will be steeper than the five per cent average drop in 2008 — the first downturn since 2001.

He says actions taken by central banks around the world and stimulus packages being introduced by many governments should lead to some stabilization in vehicle purchases.