By Conall Ó FáthartaIrish Examiner Reporter
New car sales in 2015 were up 30% for the second year running — with experts predicting a bumper 2016 for the industry.
Figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show the total new car registrations for last year came to 124,945 — up significantly on 2014 (96,284).
The month of December registered a slight decrease of -1.44% (342) compared with the same month in 2014 (347).
Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) for 2015 recorded a 42% (23,722) increase on registrations (16,732), while Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) registrations for 2015 were up 9% (2,135) on 2014.
Commenting on the figures, SIMI director general Alan Nolan said 2016 promised to be another positive year for the industry.
“We are pleased 2015 turned out to be a good year of continued recovery for our industry which is a very strong indicator of the health of the general economy.
“We now look forward to 2016 with greater optimism and a real potential to see registrations return to normal levels that we have not seen since before 2008.
“Sales within the different sectors have performed well in 2015 and we would expect to see this improvement continue in the new year,” he said.
The top five selling car makes last year were Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, Hyundai and Nissan while the top five models were the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Octavia and Toyota Corolla.
Figures from car history experts Motorcheck.ie show the industry had estimated total sales of approximately 115,000-120,000 units at the start of 2015 and the final tally had exceeded those predictions.
It pointed out 2015 was the second year running that sales increased by a third as the recovery in the motor trade had “met and exceeded expectations”.
However, the total fell some way short of the 186,000 new cars sold at the height of the boom in 2007.
Motorcheck pointed out that new car sales fell off a cliff in 2009 and despite increases, which were artificially supported by scrappage in 2010 and 2011, sales decreased again in 2012 and 2013.
Managing director of Motorcheck.ie Michael Rochford said the most people in the industry expect growth this year.
“Most of the senior people whom I have spoken with in the industry have said that an increase of 15% to 20% this year resulting in sales of 140,000 to 150,000 units would be a fabulous result and they reckon its achievable,” he said.
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