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Cheaper UK imports affecting new car sales


Anton McNulty

THE number of new 182 car registrations in Mayo is down by more than three percent on last year’s figures, with cheaper UK imports blamed for the fall-off.
The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) issued the official 182 new vehicle registration figures for July and they showed that there were 1,992 new car registrations in Mayo - down 3.49 percent on July 2017.
The downturn in car sales in Mayo was mirrored nationwide with the car sector seeing a 2.75 percent drop throughout the country. Nationally there were 26,944 new car registrations in Ireland in July 2018, compared to 27,707 in July 2017.
The report stated that the depreciation in the value of sterling since the end of 2015 has made life more difficult for the Irish motor trade, with new car sales been displaced by used imports from the UK.
“Used car imports have increased by 11.7 percent to date, aided by the weakness in sterling, as the motor industry continues to experience significant uncertainty, with monthly declines in new car registrations figures, reflecting the substantial impact of Brexit.
“Other noticeable trends within the market place show that the average price of a new car in June 2018 was 1.9 percent lower than a year earlier, while car buyers are paying 4.1 percent more for higher specifications cars.”
Looking ahead to the remainder of 2018 Jim Power, Economist and author of the SIMI report said: “The economic fundamentals that underpin new car registrations look set to remain positive but continued strong growth in used imports will continue to undermine new car sales. For 2018, the used import market is projected to grow by around 12 percent to reach 104,660. New car registrations in 2018 are forecast at around 125,000, which would represent a decline of 4.8 percent on the 2017 outturn.”

Commercial sector
There was a slight difference in the commercial sector with light commercials up by 12.4 percent (4,433) compared to July last year (3,944), while heavy goods vehicle registrations were also up 23.28 percent (376) in comparison to July 2017 (305).
The total number of new car registrations in 2018, totalled at 114,059 down by 4.09 percent on 2017. The forecast of new car sales for the year is at around 125,000, down by 4.8 percent on 2017. Alan Nolan, Director General, SIMI commented: “The 182 sales period has been a good month with new car registrations only slightly down on the same period last year, while registrations in the commercial sector in particular are showing positive signs of growth, with businesses investing in the renewal of their fleets. Electric vehicle registrations have seen a marked increased despite currently only holding small percentage of the marketplace and will continue to grow over the coming years.”
The report also found that car sales for the first half of 2018 contributed to €985.9 million for the Exchequer - a 1.9 percent increase on first half of 2017.