UK car imports increase further

The number of imported vehicles from the UK will continue to rise as British motorists increasingly turn away from diesel and look to sell, a motoring expert has said.

July figures from the CSO — the first month for 172 registered vehicles — showed the huge surge in imports of used UK cars following the Brexit effect of the 14% slump in the value of sterling, was continuing.

There were more than 21,000 new cars licensed for the first time last month, down over 5% from July 2016. Almost 7,600 used cars were licensed, up 35% from a year earlier. A registration means that road tax has been paid.

The currency effect means Irish motorists have increasingly turned to second-hand cars. Almost 109,000 new cars have been registered so far this year, compared with 120,000 in the same period last year.

Vehicle registration tax (VRT) must be paid on imported cars but even when this is paid, Irish motorists are said in many cases to be saving four-figure sums on UK cars compared to similar used cars at home. The lower tax take for the exchequer on new cars is being offset by the VRT on used cars from the UK.

Michael Rochford of Motorcheck.ie said recent measures to eliminate diesel emissions across the UK and Europe meant the number of imports of used cars would rise. “The rate of used vehicles being imported and licensed in Ireland for the first time continues to grow exponentially on the back of a weak sterling exchange rate. This is predicted to continue to increase as the bottom has dropped out of the market for diesel vehicles in the UK.”

Diesel cars have been under scrutiny since a scandal involving German company Volkswagen involving the incorrect calculation of emissions. The UK followed France last month when it announced the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from 2040. Diesel drivers face new pollution taxes in congested UK cities and could even be barred from rush-hour travel, under government measures being considered.

Mr Rochford said new car sales appeared weaker because of huge growth in 2016 and 2015.

“It must be remembered there were two years of 30% growth preceding 2017 so it was always going to be difficult to sustain this. The rate of vehicles being financed has increased more than twofold since 2014.”


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