Irish car owners are retaining their vehicles for longer, new research by car check company Cartell.ie has shown.
The average age of an Irish privately owned vehicle now stands at 7.96 years. This is higher than the comparable UK figure, which shows the average age across the pond at 7.44 years.
The principal reason for the increase is the prevailing economic climate. Director of Cartell.ie Jeff Aherne says: “New car sales figures are down but the used car market is buoyant. There is a lack of stock at the newer end of the market which is pushing prices up and in turn forcing people to hunt for bargains at the older end of the market.”
New car sales are down approximately 17 per cent year-on-year and are down nearly 60 per cent since the height of the Celtic Tiger in 2007, according to Cartell.ie.
However the good news is that used car sales are at their highest level in three years. February 2012, for instance, recorded the highest monthly total for used vehicle transactions in 36 months at 87,000 units.
However, in terms of age of fleet, since the recession first hit in 2008 the average age of the Irish vehicle has shot up by 25 per cent. This shows that while used car sales are up, the consumer is buying older vehicles than they would have bought a few years ago.
Owners are advised that keeping cars for longer could be a false economy as newer cars are more fuel efficient, more reliable, and are, generally speaking, cheaper to tax if first registered later than 2007 when tax advantages were put in place for more fuel efficient vehicles.
In terms of fuel-type petrol still significantly outnumbers diesel in the Irish car parc although a majority of newer registered vehicles are diesel aspirated. 1.54 million petrol cars are currently on Irish roads compared with 696,000 diesel.