Last year's Hyundai Tucson model. Facebook/HyundaiCarsIreland
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Electric car sales double but this SUV was the most popular new car in Ireland in 2018

Overall, new car sales fell last year by 4.4%.

SALES OF NEW electric cars almost doubled last year, according to new stats from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).

Registrations of electric cars increased from 622 in 2017 to 1,233, a 98% year-on-year increase.

This increase came amidst an overall decrease in the amount of new cars sold in Ireland last year. 

The SIMI figures recorded that 125,557 new cars were registered last year, a 4.4% decrease on the 131,332 sold in 2017 and an even bigger drop on 2016 when 146,672 were registered. 

Part of the reason for the decline in new car sales may be attributed to an increase in the number of imported used cars brought into the country. 

This classification increased in number by 7.8% to 100,755, putting it in six figures for the first time.

SIMI’s Brian Cooke said this was in large part due to the decline in the value of sterling and the associated value for Irish customers in buying UK cars.

“Despite the strong economic performance of Ireland last year, 2018 proved very challenging for new car sales,” Cooke said.

The drop in new car registrations is largely a result of Brexit and the associated weakness of sterling. This has led to a surge in used car imports over the last 2 years, and 2018 saw used imports surpass the 100,000 mark for the first time.

The stats for 2018 also show that Volkswagen was the most popular car maker for new car buyers in Ireland followed by Toyota, Hyundai, Fora, Nissan and Skoda. 

Despite this, Volkswagen does not top the popularity charts in terms of car models, with two Asian-made SUVs leading that list.

That top five was made up of:

  1. Hyundai Tucson
  2. Nissan Qashqai
  3. Ford Focus
  4. Volkswagen Golf
  5. Skoda Octavia

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