Motor industry warns against adverse tax changes

SIMI's Alan Nolan: Industry   created thousands of jobs.

Close to 100,000 new cars are due to be sold in Ireland by the end of the year, bringing in tax revenue in the region of €220m.

The total for the year so far is 93,186, which is 20,000 more than the whole of 2013, an increase of 30% on last year, and fuelling industry expectations that well over 95,000 vehicles will have been bought by the end of 2014. New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the sale of new cars rose by 34.4% to 4,376 in September compared to the same month last year. The number of new goods vehicles — considered a reliable indicator of how the economy is faring — jumped by 52.8% to 1,485.

The increased September sales follow a 61% rise in July and 31% increase in August.

The highest number of new cars sold last month by make was Volkswagen, followed by Toyota, Ford and Renault.

This year’s favoured models are Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai, and Ford Focus, followed by the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Corolla, and Skoda Octavia.

The CSO figures were welcomed by the Irish Motor Industry yesterday, which acknowledged that the number plate system, in which new plates are issued every six months instead of every year, had spurred the increase in sales for the second half of the year. “The new number plate has exceeded expectations,” said SIMI director general Alan Nolan. “We had expected that the second peak would take time to establish itself, but we have already seen a strong shift into this second half of the year with the 142 registration.

“The industry has seen improved business levels this year, and has collected an additional €200m for the Exchequer from new car sales alone and has created thousands of additional jobs around the country.”

However, Mr Nolan said the improved figures were from a very low base and still only represented about 60% of average car sales in pre-recession years.

“Recovery is still very fragile, being dependent on both consumer confidence and levels of disposable income,” he said.

His view was echoed by economist Jim Power at the launch of SIMI’s quarterly report, as he warned the Government against doing anything in next week’s Budget that might adversely affect the motor industry.

“It is clear that the motor industry recovery is making a very positive contribution to tax revenues and employment,” he said.

SIMI has been calling for stability for the industry, with no increases in taxation on consumers and specifically no VRT and Road Tax rises that might impact on new car sales.

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