1 February 2017

New cars dip, used imports up

A surge in imports of used cars from Britain in January has contributed to a small drop in overall new car registrations in Ireland in January 2017, compared to the same month last year, writes Brian Byrne.

More than 7,500 imports in the month represented a 67pc increase in such sales, partly due to the more preferential sterling exchange rates since the devaluation of the £ against the € following the Brexit decision.

In the bigger picture, the 39,000 new cars registered this January represents a small 1.75pc drop compared to the same month in 2016, and was widely expected following several years of strong growth in the Irish car business.

More than 5,000 units were registered on the last day of the month, the usual pre-registration hunt by key brands to figure high in the ratings. While this might seem high, this practice is actually significantly higher in percentage terms in other markets, such as Germany.

The top registrations in brand terms in Ireland in January were Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen and Nissan.

The top selling models were the Hyundai Tucson, Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, Nissan Qashqai, and Volkswagen Golf.

LCV registrations for Jan 2017 decreased 2.46pc with 6,394 units sold. The top selling manufacturers were Ford, Volkswagen, Renault, Toyota and Peugeot.

The top selling models were the Ford Transit, Volkswagen Caddy, Ford Transit Connect, Toyota Landcruiser and Citroen Berlingo.

Michael Rochford of Motorcheck.ie said that equalling last year’s performance is going to be a challenge for the Motor Trade in Ireland this year, and increased used imports will impact on new car sales as many consumers will opt for a bigger used car or one with a better spec rather than buying new.

"However, consumers need to beware," he warned, "as we have seen an increase in clocked and written off cars being imported to Ireland in recent times."