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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020
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117,000 new cars registered in Ireland in 2019 and just 3% were electric

The government is expected to soon publish draft legislation banning the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.

File photo of a changing station for electric cars in Dublin.
File photo of a changing station for electric cars in Dublin.
Image: Shutterstock/Agnieszka Pas

MORE THAN 117,000 new cars or vehicles were registered in the Republic of Ireland in 2019, down 6.8% on 2018.

A total 117,100 new vehicles were registered in last year, down from 125,671 new cars the previous year, according to figures released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (Simi) today.

New ‘light commercial vehicle’ (LCV) registrations dropped slightly from 25,447 in 2018 to 25,350 last year (a 0.4% decrease).

New ‘heavy commercial vehicle’ registrations (HGV) saw an increase of 2.5% with 2,654 registered in 2019 compared to 2,590 in 2018.

Imported used cars reached record numbers for a second year – 113,926 used imports were registered, up from 100,755 in 2018 (a 13.1% increase).

There was an increase in the number of new electric cars that were registered – 3,444 in 2019 in comparison to 1,233 the previous year. However, this represents just 3% of the overall number of new cars registered.

Ban on petrol and diesel cars

Earlier this week, Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton said motorists planning on buying new cars in 2020 “should reassess electric” and the government is expected to soon publish draft legislation banning the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.

Bruton said motorists who are planning to buy petrol or diesel cars should reassess their decision and consider purchasing electric vehicles despite the more expensive price tag.

“I think there are many pioneers that want to purchase electric vehicles now and I encourage them, and we financially encourage them to do so, and we’ll ensure there is a charging network to support them,” he said.

“I recognise that there are many people who will continue to purchase traditional vehicles.

“People need to recognise that if they are considering purchasing over the next couple of years – not everybody will be buying this year – they should reassess electric as an alternative.”

Bruton said the cost “might be dearer upfront” but the running cost over the car’s lifetime “compensates for much of that”.

He said the government plans to double the existing electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the new year and said that by 2025 the number of new electric vehicles on the road is expected to jump to between 12% and 14%.

Top-selling cars 

The figures released by Simi today show that diesel accounted for accounted for 47% of new cars registered last year, petrol was 41%, hybrid 9%, electric 3%, and plug-in hybrid 1%.

Diesel remains the most popular engine type, while hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid gained market share in 2019.

Manual transmissions (67%) continue to dominate but automatic transmissions (33%) gained in popularity. Automatic transmissions saw a 22% increase in 2019 while manuals declined by 17%.

The five top-selling car brand in Ireland in 2019 were:

  • Volkswagen
  • Toyota
  • Hyundai
  • Ford
  • Skoda

The five top-selling car models last year were as follows:

  • Toyota Corolla
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Nissan Qashqai
  • Volkswagen Tiguan
  • Skoda Octavia

The hatchback was Ireland’s top-selling car body type of 2019. While grey remains the top-selling colour and has continued to keep that title for the past four years.

Commenting on the figures, Brian Cooke, Simi Director General, said: 2019 was “a disappointing year for new car sales in Ireland”.

Cooke said the decline is in part “attributable to the record levels of used imports, which for a second consecutive year exceeded 100,000, having a dampening impact on new car sales”.

“2020 marks the start of the new 201 sales period with the industry firmly focused on January and on the first quarter which is the key selling period,” he added. 

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Órla Ryan

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