Number of new cars licensed up to 13,000

The number of new cars licensed for the first time surged last month, but remains far short of the buying frenzy at the height of the boom years, official figures show.

The CSO figures show 13,166 new cars were licensed last month, up 12% from the 11,757 cars licensed a year earlier. That is the highest number for any April since the eve of the crash in 2008 and shows the economic upturn is at last helping to drive car sales on the garage forecourts.

However, the latest monthly figures also fall well short of the 21,427 new car licenses recorded at the height of the boom in April 2007, the CSO figures show.

Since the start of the year, 65,709 new private cars have been licensed, up 28.5% from the same four months last year, while the number of secondhand cars licensed slumped 5.7% over the same period, as consumers become more confident about purchasing expensive items.

“New car licenses are increasing in line with expectations, but they are coming off a low base due to the decreases posted after 2008”, said Michael Rochford, managing director at motorcheck.ie. The rate of increases will likely slow during the second licensing period in the final six months of the year.

“It’s a significant recovery. The industry is returning to a healthy state, but it is far off the boom years,” Mr Rochford said.

Volkswagen recorded 1,763 new car licenses in April, the highest number for any manufacturer, according to the CSO. It was followed by Ford (1,288); Nissan (1,187); Toyota (1,161); and Hyundai (1,135) as the most popular makes licensed last month.


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