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New car sales down 10 per cent in 2017

Total new car registrations for the year finished, as anticipated at 131,356, down 10 per cent on 2016 (146,649), official statistics released by the  Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) confirm.

Although new Commercial Vehicle registrations showed an increase for both Light and Heavy Commercial Vehicles during the final month of the year, with very low volumes in December, this did not impact on the overall trend for the full year. New Light Commercial Vehicle registrations (LCV) at 24,195, recorded a fall of 14.2 per cent for the year in 2017, while New Heavy Commercial Vehicle registrations (HGV) 2,602 saw a decrease of 9.4 per cent over the 12 months compared to 2016 (2,873).

Used Commercial Vehicle imports increased during 2017. LCV imports were up 21.3 per cent and HGV imports were up 14.8 per cent. Imported Used Cars reached 93,454, which was an increase of 29.5 per cent on 2016 (72,153).

Commenting on the figures SIMI Director General, Alan Nolan stated: “2017 was a very challenging year for the Motor Industry, mainly due to the impact of Brexit on Euro/Sterling exchange rates. Without Brexit we would have anticipated a reasonable level of growth in the market but in the aftermath of the UK Brexit vote we had modified our projection to 132,000 and that prediction turned out to be very accurate with the car market finishing at 131,356. This number is still better than most recent years and produced reasonable volumes across all vehicle sales sectors.”

“We are, of course, now at the commencement of the new 181 sales period which is hugely important for our members who remain optimistic for the coming year. For new car buyers competition in the choice of models, the various incentives and special offers as well as the range of finance options mean that competition is driving value for consumers. The obvious value available in the Irish new car market has been apparent over the past 12 months with only 79 new cars imported in 2017, despite the low value of sterling. While used imports have been increasing strongly new car imports have fallen by 25 per cent in the last year and by almost 60 per cent over the last three years. With such a range of models, offers and finance options available to consumers to choose from, the best advice, as always, is to research in advance to shop around and, if you can, shop local and support businesses in your home place.”