Car sales fell over 10% in the first nine months of the year as Brexit continues to affect the motor trade, writes Conall Ó Fátharta.
Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show, in the year to September, 121,595 new cars were licensed — a drop of 10.3% on the same period last year.
However, the number of imported used private cars licensed increased by 40.5%, to just over 69,000, compared with the corresponding nine months of 2016.
For September alone the number of new cars sold plummeted by 17.4% compared with last year while 8,327 used imported private cars were licensed, a comparable rise of 25.7%
So far this year, Volkswagen (12,855) was the most popular make of new car licenses followed by Toyota (11,835), Ford (11,255), Hyundai (10,977) and Nissan (9,707).
Overall, the five top manufacturers represent almost half (46.6%) of all new cars licensed in the period.
In September, meanwhile, the five most popular makes were Volkswagen (680); Skoda (463); Toyota (370); Ford (328); and Renault (306).
Up to the end of the third quarter of 2017, almost two-thirds (64.9%) of new private cars licensed were diesel.
The number of electric/hybrid electric new private cars licensed for the first time was 4,896 in the first nine months of 2017 up from 2,980 in the same period last year
CSO statistician Brenda Curtin said, since 2010, one-third of all cars licensed for the first time were secondhand imported vehicles.
Most of the imported vehicles were between three and five-years-old, he said.
However, in the first nine months of 2017, 1% were less than one year old, while over 5% were 10 years or older.
He said that eight out of 10 (79.1%) imported private cars were diesel while electric vehicles made up 0.5%.
The CSO figures mirror those of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry released last week in advance of the Budget.
Director general Alan Nolan said that Brexit had driven down the value of sterling and had resulted in increased numbers of used imports, of cars and commercial vehicles.
This article first appeared on the Irish Examiner.