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February sees further disappointment in new car registrations

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has released its official new vehicle statistics for February 2020, which was a disappointing month for new car registrations.

New car registrations for February were down 7.7 per cent (13,915) when compared to February 2019 (15,069). Registrations year to date are also down 4.9 per cent (45,096) on the same period last year (47,439).

Light commercials vehicles are down 6.9 per cent (2,294) compared to February last year (2,465) and year to date are down 0.8 per cent (7,946). Heavy goods vehicle registrations are up 14.5 per cent (300) in comparison to February 2019 (262). Year to date HGV’s are up 11.04 per cent (684).

Used car imports for February (6,196) have seen a decrease of 30.1 per cent on February 2019 (8,859). Year to date imports are down 28.2 per cent (12,818) on 2019 (17,862).

For the month of February 401 new electric vehicles were registered compared to 325 on the same month last year +23.38 per cent. While so far this year 1,294 new electric cars were registered in comparison to 1,124 on the same period last year an increase of 15.12 per cent. Both hybrid and plug in hybrid continue to increase their market share.

Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General said: “New car sales continue to disappoint with February’s registrations showing further deterioration since January. Political and economic uncertainty is depressing consumer confidence and we now have the added problem of the Coronavirus, which may disrupt new hire drive registrations for the tourist season in March and April.

“The introduction of the new NOx charge in January has led to a fall in the demand for older used imports, with a fall of over 40 per cent in used imports over five years old. New electric car registrations are up 15 per cent (1,294) year to date yet, but further analysis of this number reveals that while private consumer purchases of EVs, which still attract the SEAI grant, are up over 30 per cent, there has been a reduction in company electric car purchases where this support no longer applies.”