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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020
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Car sales down 14 per cent in first quarter

A total of 11,682 private cars were sold for the first time in March – down from 13,051 the same time last year.

CAR SALES IN Ireland were down 10.5 per cent in March, bringing the total decrease for the first three months of the year to nearly 14 per cent.

While 45,840 cars were sold during the first three months of 2012, just 39,498 cars have been sold this year to date – a drop of 6,342.

The biggest drop of the year to date, when compared with 2012 figures, was January, when sales were down nearly 20 per cent.

In March alone, 1,369 fewer cars were registered.

Broken down by CO2 emission category, the lowest level (band A) was the only one to see an increase in sales, up nearly four per cent on March last year

Commenting on the overall results for Q1, the director general of  the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), Alan Nolan, said that this represented a “crucial period” for the motor industry, with half of all new car sales usually taking place during this time.

“Based on current figures, we’re predicting a new car market of 70,000 this year, slightly down on our original expectations,” he said, adding that the reduced estimate was a reflection of a “very tough marketplace in the sector.”

The Industry must sell cars that were ordered and in the pipeline for this year based on the original expectations but a bad experience this year is likely to lead to a much more conservative view of next year’s market and this will impact on tax revenues next year.
At the moment, though, all of this is good news for the consumer with very strong offers available on new cars and with a shortage of good quality used cars in the market-place trade-ins are in huge demand.

Most popular

Volkswagon is Ireland’s most popular brand, despite sales for March dropping by nearly eight per cent. The best selling model is the Volkswagon Golf, with March sales up 8.54 per cent.

Nissan’s Qushqai is the second most popular model, despite a drop in sales of nearly 50 per cent based on March 2012.

Ireland’s number plate system changed this year, with cars bought between January and June (inclusive) starting with 131 and cars bought from July onwards starting with 132.

Those within the motor industry hoped that this change would help spread car sales more evenly throughout the year.

Read: 12 per cent fall in new car sales in February >

Column: Aaron McKenna: Changing the car reg plates is a good idea if it saves jobs >

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Paul Hyland

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