Peak car selling period sees major slump in business

The number of new cars licensed in April slumped by 15% compared with last year, as the peak car selling period for this year slowed dramatically.

Latest figures from the CSO show a total of 11,263 vehicles were licensed in April compared with 13,246 in the same period last year.

Private car registrations were down some 16% compared with April of last year, with 9,388 cars registered last month. Goods vehicle registrations were down 14.1% on Apr 2011, to 1,047.

Volkswagen sold more new cars than any other make, followed by Nissan, Toyota, and Renault.

There is a continuing trend of consumers buying diesel cars; they amounted to approximately 75% of all new cars registered in April.

The total figures are down on the first four months of last year but show a slight improvement on the same period in 2010.

David McNamara of Davy Research said the expected January bounce in sales had now all but been reversed.

“The temporary bounce in January registrations can be attributed to consumers bringing forward purchases before the VAT increase. While sales naturally tail off throughout the year, they have fallen more abruptly than in previous years. The 53,620 registrations in the first four months of the year are down 8.5% on 2011.”

Mr McNamara said the CSO figures show just how weak the car sector remains.

“Today’s vehicle registrations data point to continued weakness of consumer spending in quarter two. We predicted a 1.7% fall in consumer spending in our January forecast, and today’s data reinforces that view.”

Alan Nolan, the director general of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, agreed that the underlying market conditions in the industry remained quite weak.

“Our estimate is that there will be in the region of 75,000 cars sold this year, down from about 90,000 last year. This year started well and February figures also held up well, but the underlying market in new cars remains weak and retail activity is quite low.”


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