A joint ministerial decision issued on Tuesday for the withdrawal of older vehicles -- a "cash for clunker" variation -- is considered "life-sustaining" measure for the depressed retail car sales market, one of the biggest victims of the ongoing economic crisis.

So far, retailers have recorded a reduction of more than 50 pct in sales.

The decision concerns older vehicles with a circulation license issued before Dec. 31, 1998, to be replaced by new cars with an engine capacity of up to 2000cc.

The withdrawal should take place no later than Dec. 20, 2011 through the approved alternative management system for older vehicles (OTKZ).