New car sales for January fell for the fourth year in a row, but there was an increase in electric and hybrid vehicles sales.
There were 31,251, new car registrations last month, a fall of 3.5% on January 2019, figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show. “January is the most important selling month for new cars. In this regard, it is very disappointing to see a reduction in new car sales,” Brian Cooke, SIMI director-general said.
Used car imports declined 26.4% (6,623) in January, compared with January 2019 (9,003). SIMI said the introduction of the NOx charge, on January 1, reduced demand for older, used imports.
“On a more positive note, there has been a reduction of nearly 6% in the average CO2 emissions from new cars registered in January, Mr Cooke said. “New cars, ultimately, displace the oldest, most environmentally damaging cars in the national fleet and, in order for Ireland to benefit fully from these technology improvements, the new car market needs to be much stronger than it currently is and government policy should support this.”
The Toyota Corolla was the best-selling car last month, followed by the Hyundai Tuscon, Ford Focus, Hyundai Kona, and the Renault Clio.
Diesel vehicles remain the most popular, enjoying 50% of the market, followed by petrol 40%, hybrid 8%, and full electric 2%.
Economist Jim Power, who authored the SIMI report, said uncertainty and confusion about the environmental implications of different types of cars will impact sales this year.
“For 2020, 111,245 new car registrations are projected, which would represent a decline of 5% on the 2019 outturn,” he said.