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New car sales drop by 10 per cent

New car sales in the first half of the year, totalled 91,185, a decline of 10 per cent, when compared to new cars sold during the first half of 2016, figures released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry confirm.

The SIMI/DoneDeal report highlighted that a combination of factors, including rising housing, rental and health insurance costs and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, were affecting disposable income and making consumers cautious about purchasing big-ticket items such as new cars.
During the first six months of the year, new car sales declined in every county, with Donegal experiencing the largest decline at 18.6 per cent, while Cavan had the smallest decline of 4.4 per cent . New car sales in Dublin accounted for 40.6 per cent of the total new car market, the report showed.

The market share for hybrid vehicles increased from 1.6 per cent of the market in the first six months of 2016 to 3.2 per cent of the market in the same period in 2017, according to the Report. At the same time, there has been a welcome rebalancing of the Diesel/Petrol market shares and it is likely that this trend is set to continue toward equality between the two fuel types. Registrations of new diesel cars, reduced from 71 per cent of the market in the first six months of 2016 to 66 per cent of the new car market in the first half of 2017. There was a small decrease in new petrol car sales, which were down just 1 per cent and they accounted for 30.2 per cent of all new cars sold during the first half of 2017.

Imported cars, the vast majority of which (97 per cent ) are from the UK, continued to be a significant part of the overall car market, the SIMI/DoneDeal Review found. It showed that during the first half of the year, 46,004 used cars were imported, which represented an increase of 42.6 per cent compared to the first half of 2016.

The SIMI/DoneDeal Review also highlights that nearly half (49 per cent ) of all imported used cars during this period were five years or older, while the diesel share of used imports is just over 79 per cent . Sterling weakness and a scarcity of second hand cars due to the collapse in new car sales from 2009 onwards, were the main factors behind the strong increase in used imports.

The report also shows a number of price decreases in the cost of motoring. The average price of a new car in May 2017 was 4.1 per cent lower than a year earlier, while the cost of motor insurance in May 2017 was 8.4 per cent lower than it was a year earlier.

Against this background, Jim Power Economist and author of the SIMI/DoneDeal Report said: “As we move into the second half of the year, all of the factors that influenced the motor trade in the first half will remain relevant. “Economic growth will be supportive, but financial pressures on consumers and the uncertainty around Brexit are likely to continue to weigh on big-ticket items such as new cars. At the same time, imported used cars will remain popular. For the full year, the likelihood is that new car registrations will be 10 per cent down on last year. This would translate into total new car registrations for the year of 132,000.”

Gavin Hydes SIMI President commented: “New car sales remain steady, but have not hit the heights of the first half of 2016. Rising living costs and the uncertainty caused by factors such as Brexit continue to weigh on the new car sector. In this context SIMI dealers will continue to offer value to their customers in sales of both new and used cars.”

Cathal Cremen, Commercial Manager of DoneDeal’s Motor Section, said: “The pace of growth in DoneDeal’s motor market place continues to accelerate, in the last six months alone, €18m worth of vehicle adverts were placed on the site every day. This year we have increased the number of motor ads placed on DoneDeal by 9.6 per cent when compared to the same period last year. Dealer Ads are also 32 per cent up year-on-year, reflecting DoneDeals improved professional motor market offering. The premium motor market is also on the rise and the number of higher value cars now being advertised on DoneDeal’s motor marketplace has increased by 40 per cent ”