Car sales could veer off course in 2017 with uncertain period expected due to Brexit

Car sales could be flat in 2017 as the motor industry faces an uncertain period due to Brexit.

The more conservative outlook for next year came from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) as it launched its second quarterly review of the motor sector.

The report, in conjunction with DoneDeal, highlighted that despite some deceleration as the year has progressed, the economic outlook is still positive with total car sales forecast to reach 152,000 by the end of the year.

It also pointed out that the exchequer collected over €978m in VRT and Vat receipts from new and used car sales in the first half of the year — some 28.5% higher than the same period in 2015.

The number of new cars sold in the first six months topped 101,000 — up 23% on the same period last year.

The number of new cars sold in the first 20 days of this month was 21,525 (up 11%). The sale of light commercials vehicles sold was 18,409 (25.6%) and heavy commercial vehicles was 1,789 (up 42%).

There was mixed news on the cost of motoring. The SIMI report points out that insurance costs have soared by almost 39% when compared to the first half of last year.

However, petrol prices have fallen by 8.4% and diesel prices have dropped by 12.4%. The prices of new cars have also fallen by 3%.

Figures from DoneDeal mirrored the growth rate seen in the motor industry, with car dealership advertising volumes rising by 19% in the first half of the year.

Economist and author of the report, Jim Power, said the market would likely slow down next year and said the possible impacts of Brexit had created uncertainty.

“Despite the still-positive economic outlook, growth in car sales could be low or maybe even flat in 2017. This slowdown in growth reflects a market approaching, but still lower, than its natural state, after a prolonged period of catch-up, but one that is now shrouded in Brexit uncertainty,” he said.

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