There was a 33% annualised increase in the sale of new cars last month, with 22,927 vehicles purchased.
The findings from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) are being interpreted as a sign that the car sector is returning to growth mode in Ireland.
“It was clear in December that there was a strong demand for new ‘141’ cars, with dealers reporting far better levels of activity in the lead-up to January.
“Feedback from dealers suggests that consumer interest is continuing with a noticeable increase in showroom footfall and there certainly is a sense of optimism in dealerships that hasn’t been apparent for many years,” according to Simi director general, Alan Nolan.
Mr Nolan said that a mix of issues — such as the earlier budget last year and built-up demand — may have boosted sales; along with more affordability and confidence amongst consumers. He remains optimistic for the remainder of the year.
“It is very early days so we are still cautious in relation to where the market might end up this year but there is a strong sense that we’re now above the bottom and beginning to move upwards. It’s nice to be able to say that for the first time since 2008,” he said. “There appear to be a smaller proportion of registrations in the last few days of this January compared to 2013, which is a sign that the stronger demand this year is being driven by consumers.”
Demand for used cars has also been strong, while the supply of locally sourced cars remains limited. This is reflected in the increase in imported used cars, up 35% on 2013.
Commercial vehicles also saw improved levels of activity in January with sales of vans up 42% on 2013, while HGVs are 31% up on 2013.
The top three selling car models were the VW Golf, Toyota Corolla, and Ford Focus.
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