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Car hunters driven abroad as Ireland sees record number of used vehicle imports during 2018

Statistics from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show that 100,755 used cars were imported last year.

Image: Shutterstock/welcomia

IRISH CAR BUYERS imported a record number of used cars in 2018, with a strong Euro driving consumers to hunt for deals in the United Kingdom.

Officials statistics compiled by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show that 100,755 used cars were imported in 2018, the overwhelming majority of which (95.8%) were imported from the UK.

An analysis by Fexco Corporate Payments found a 59% increase in imports from the UK last year compared with 2017.

The average cost paid for vehicles imported from the UK by individual Irish buyers was €21,612, a 34% rise in the average figure paid in 2017.

According to Fexco, that figure showed that Irish motorists who imported cars directly from the UK ordered higher specification models.

David Lamb, Fexco’s head of dealing, said that Irish consumers were following a trend first noticed by Irish car dealers in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016.

“For years the cost – and red tape – of importing a UK-registered car into Ireland put off all but professional dealers or the most committed individual motorists,” he said.

“Sterling’s continued weakness has shifted that calculus, prompting ever more Irish motorists to look to the UK for their next car.”

Clear trend

Meanwhile, DoneDeal’s Motor Industry review for 2018 also revealed that 640,326 used cars were sold in Ireland during 2018, a 3.6% drop from 664,253 in 2017.

The website’s analysis found that Volkswagen was Ireland’s most popular used car brand last year, with 87,992 Volkswagens changing hands.

The German manufacturer was followed by Toyota (73,834 sold), Ford (71,882 sold), Nissan (49,938 sold) and Audi (37,714 sold).

The analysis also showed the makes and models sold last year that retained their market value the most from when they were bought as new in 2015.

The car that maintained its value the most since 2015 was the Skoda Octavia, which had an average depreciation of 22%, followed by the Volkswagen Golf (27%) and the Ford Focus (36%).

Separately, searches of electric and hybrid vehicles also increased on the site last year, with over 2 million electric car searches taking place on DoneDeal in 2018, compared to just under 950,0000 in 2017.

DoneDeal’s Martin Clancy said that searches for vehicles on the website represented a clear trend when it came to consumer behaviour.

“Electric car searches surged 110% compared with 2017, hybrid searches are up 83% while Diesel dipped by 14% during the same period,” he said.

Clancy added that 20% fewer new diesels were sold via DoneDeal in 2018 compared with 2017, and said just over half of car ads on the website last year were for cars with diesel engines.

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