Irish motorists hunt bargains in UK luxury market

By Pádraig Hoare

Irish motorists importing luxury cars from the UK are seeing increasingly attractive offers as UK dealers try to counteract lowering demand for diesel vehicles.

New car registrations in the UK fell almost 3% in February from the same month last year, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, hit by a further slump in the sales of diesel vehicles which politicians have targeted over air quality concerns.

Last July, the UK said it would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to cut pollution, replicating plans by France and cities such as Madrid, Mexico City and Athens.

There has been an increasing trend of attractive deals for Irish motorists from UK dealers for used luxury cars such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi as UK buyers turn away from diesel, and dealers accordingly lower prices on various models.

Even with the vehicle registration tax (VRT) that needs paying to Revenue on UK imports, savings on luxury brands can be thousands of euro for Irish motorists.

There was a 35% increase in used car imports from the UK in 2017, according to research from

Experts said big savings on luxury brands from the UK could be made but urged motorists to do comprehensive research before

committing to


The plan by the Irish Government, as part of Project Ireland 2040, is for petrol and diesel car purchases to be phased out by 2030 but that is not stopping Irish motorists hunting for perceived bargains abroad just yet, according to

John Byrne of said: “Diesel is taking a hit in the UK as people turn to hybrids and electric vehicles, and our own view is that their time will indeed come here. People are aware of 2030 here but the impact is not going to be felt for now.”

Michael Rochford of said the overall market for new diesels in Ireland was also declining but future punitive measures on diesel owners were not putting off some punters from going abroad. He said: “Diesel imports for the year to date are up 78%, compared to an increase in used imports of 82% overall. This suggests those in the market for a used car are more impressed with the immediate savings they will make.”

rather than the potential increases in long-term running costs or effects on depreciation that might be coming down the line.” --

Additional reporting Reuters

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