New car sales up 20% so far this year

New car sales have increased by almost 20% in the first seven months of the year compared to last 2015.

Figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show new car registrations are up 19% (131,264) on the same period last year (109,931).

The total number of new cars registered to the end of July this year has already surpassed the number of new cars registered for the whole of 2015 (124,947).

July saw 162 registrations increase by 8% (29,931) compared to July 2015 (27,594).

The commercial vehicles sector is also performing strongly, with light commercial vehicles up 15% (4,341) on the same month last year and some 23% (22,746) for the year to date.

Heavy good vehicle registrations are up 37% (397) for July when compared to the same month in 2015 and have jumped 41% for the year to date.

The top five selling makes for 2016 to date are Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen and Nissan. The top selling models are the Hyundai Tucson, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Octavia.

The top selling car for the month of July and year to date is Hyundai Tuscon.

Commenting on the figures SIMI director general Alan Nolan said they showed just how strongly the motor industry had performed in the first half of the year.

“This growth has continued into July, although at a noticeably slower rate than the first two quarters, perhaps due to a combination of external factors such as Brexit and the fact that the extremely high growth rates of recent years must naturally slow as we get closer to a more normal market following a period of catch up,” he said.

However, Mr Nolan sounded a note of caution warning that new vehicle sales needed to be at “sustainable levels”.

“It is important however, for both the industry and the economy that, new vehicle sales continue to be at sustainable levels, which for new cars is in the region of 150,000 to 160,000, based on the current population and the age of the national car fleet,” he said.

“A new car market in the region of 150,000 delivers over €1bn in tax revenues, supports the employment of more than 40,000 in the Motor Industry, and assists in reducing our CO2 emissions from transport by tens of thousands of tonnes,” he said.

Earlier this month, SIMI warned that 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 in 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 said the exchequer collected over €978m in VRT and Vat receipts from new and used car sales in the first half of the year — 28.5% higher than in 2015.


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