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New car sales decline as Budget 2018 looms

Official statistics released today by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show that new car registrations for the month of September, were down 17 per cent (3,916) when compared to (4,707) September 2016, while new cars registrations year to date remain down 10 per cent (128,597) on the same period last year (143,211).

The new Commercial vehicle sector continues to see a decrease also with Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) registrations down -9 per cent (1,457) on September 2016 (1,609) and year to date are down -14 per cent (22,488). New Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HGV) have declined -30 per cent for the month of September (149) compared to the same month last year (213) and are down -15 per cent (2,252) year to date.

Commenting on the figures SIMI Director General, Alan Nolan stated “New vehicle registrations remain down in all sectors as we enter the final quarter of sales for 2017. We continue to stress to Government officials that Budget 2018 must not carry any negatives that would harm our Industry and that the motorist should not be burdened further in the upcoming budget. The Motor Industry is currently experiencing the impact of the UK’s Brexit decision that has driven-down the value of sterling and has resulted in increased numbers of used imports, of both cars and commercial vehicles. This is having a knock-on effect on the sales of both new cars and commercials and on Irish used vehicle values which have been reducing to compete with imports. The Brexit impact is most obvious in the case of used imported HGV registrations which have this year exceeded the number of new registrations by 10 per cent.

With our industry already facing severe challenges, we have, in our Pre-Budget submission, called on the Government to avoid any additional negative burdens in next week’s Budget. We have also pressed the case for some additional, low cost incentives for Electric and Hybrid cars to support migration toward alternative fuelled vehicles. We have underlined the importance of cleaner diesel cars to rural Ireland and, despite a negative media commentary on the impact of diesel cars on air quality, much of this has been based on data from countries with older diesel fleets. In Norway for instance the average diesel car is aged over 10 years old and pre-dates diesel particle filter (DPF) technology. In Ireland the average diesel car is 5.7 years old and is fitted with a DPF. Our diesel cars are so much younger because Irish consumers have only opted for diesel cars in significant numbers since the State encouraged them to do so to take advantage of the ability of diesel cars to deliver lower levels of CO2.”