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2016 was the biggest year for new cars since the recession, but which maker sold the most?

Last year saw more new cars sold than any year since 2008.

Image: Paul Sancya/PA Images

LAST YEAR SAW the biggest number of new car sales in Ireland in almost a decade and the most registrations since the 2008 economic slump.

In total there were 146,672 new cars registered in 2016, an almost 18% increase on 2015 and the highest since 2008.

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) says the increase was in line with expectations, adding that the strong new car sales tapered off somewhat in the latter half of last year.

Imported used cars also had a bumper 2016 with SIMI putting this down to a number of factors including a stronger euro relative to sterling giving Irish importers greater purchasing power.

In terms of Ireland’s most popular new car makers, there were more 2016 Toyotas registered in Ireland last year than any other maker. Hyundai came in second followed by Volkswagen, Ford and then Nissan.

Interestingly, and perhaps showing Toyota’s popularity across a wide range of its brands, none of its models were among the top five selling models last year.

That top five was made up of:

  1. Hyundai Tucson
  2. Volkswagen Golf
  3. Ford Focus
  4. Skoda Oktavia
  5. Nissan Qasqai

While the increase in overall car sales is often used as a barometer of positive economic activity, SIMI’s director general Alan Nolan says sales of work vehicles is probably a more accurate measure.

Looking at these sales, he explains that it’s also good news:

Commercial vehicle registrations, which perhaps best reflect the level of activity in the economy, were also significantly up on 2015, with light commercial vehicle registrations finishing 18.3% up and heavy commercial vehicle registrations 31.3% ahead of last year.

“As we move into 2017 and the new 171 registration period, the industry is anticipating a continuation of the strong performance seen during 2016 and is projecting similar registration numbers to last year,” he adds.

SIMI also provides a county-by-county breakdown of where the most cars were bought last year and which parts of the country saw the biggest increase in sales.

Looking at those figures, Roscommon saw the biggest spike in new car sales with 31% more new cars registered last year compared to 2015. Meath saw the second largest increase with a 24% jump while Waterford and Cork increased by 23%.

In terms of the share of new cars registered, Dublin dwarfs all other counties, accounting for 40% of all the new cars sold last year.

Read: Over 96,000 new cars were sold in Ireland last year >

Read: New cars sales have been doing a roaring trade since the start of the year >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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