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Motor Industry Review

More Irish people are buying used cars in the UK

New car registrations are down 21 per cent compared to February last year.

THE LATEST OFFICIAL statistics released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show that new car registrations were down by 21 per cent compared to the same month in 2016 – with a surge in used imports partially responsible.

In February 2016 a total of 21,573 new cars were registered. In February 2017 a total of 17,128 new cars were registered.  Overall, this puts the total of new car registrations for the first two months of 2017 down by 8.46 per cent (56,110) compared to the same period last year (61,295).

Concerns are growing within the motor industry regarding the month on month drop in registrations.

Commenting on the figures Alan Nolan SIMI Director General said:

We have been anticipating lower numbers in February compared to 2016, with Brexit continuing to impact on used vehicle imports, with fewer working days this year and with less hire-drive cars because of a later Easter but these numbers are somewhat poorer than we had hoped.

The figures are also a bit misleading as traditionally on the last day of trading there is a rush by dealers and importers to hit sales targets, creating a surge in new car registrations.

On the last day of January of this year 5,063 new cars were registered and on the last day of February almost 4,000 new cars were registered. Now, we don’t know for sure how many of those cars registered on the last day of February were down to pre-registering but only on February 24th did registrations exceed 1,000 units – so registering nearly 4,000 cars on February 28th is quite a spike in the market.

However, this is good news for new car buyers – this is a great time to go shopping as dealers will want to sell these pre-registered cars to sustain the market. So there are deals to be had.

Toyota are the best selling manufacturer with 1,533 Corollas and 1,297 Yaris models registered this year. The Hyundai Tucson remains the best selling model with 2,456 of the SUVs registered this year.

One of the main reasons cited for the decrease in new car registrations is used car imports, mainly from the UK. According to SIMI Motorstats used imports are up by 64.12 per cent year on year – January and February 2017 saw 15,320 used cars  imported into Ireland compared to just 9,823 units in the first two months 2016.

Furthermore, many the cars that are being imported are traditionally Ireland’s biggest sellers.

The top ten used imports are:

  • Ford Focus
  • Volkswagen Golf
  • Volkswagen Passat saloon
  • Audi A4
  • Nissan Qashqai
  • Audi A6
  • Hyundai i30
  • Toyota Avensis
  • BMW 5 Series
  • Opel Insignia

The industry projections for the year suggest a market close to 140,000 for 2017 compared to 147,000 last year, but as economist Jim Power stated previously: “predicting the new car market for this year is going to be far more difficult than usual”.

READ: The new Range Rover Velar packs some impressive tech and advanced safety systems >

READ: New Ford Fiesta ST revealed with 200hp three-cylinder engine >

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