Irish car buyers more than doubled their spending on importing vehicles from the UK during the first half of 2017 compared with the same time in 2016, according to data released by the foreign exchange specialist FEXCO Corporate Payments.
The analysis, of 2,000 transactions made through FEXCO Corporate Payments, shows that by the end of June individual Irish car buyers had spent 134% more on importing used cars from the UK than they did in the first six months of 2016.
The number of people buying cars from the UK rose by a similar level, with FEXCO recording a 116% increase in the volume of cross-border car purchases.
The combination of the UK’s greater supply of used cars and sterling weakness means Irish motorists can get more for their money when buying cars in the UK. Rather than spending less, the FEXCO data reveals many are spending more – with the average transaction size increasing by a third (32%) from €9,133 in the first half of 2016 to €12,071 this year.
To give an example of the price differential, FEXCO researchers identified two comparable used cars currently for sale at garages in London and Dublin. A silver 2008 BMW 3 Series M Sport costs £9,995 (€11,318) in the UK according to the AA, while a similar model of the same age is being advertised in Dublin for €13,950.
FEXCO also recorded a surge in imports of UK cars by Irish car dealers and garages. In the first six months of 2017, they increased the number of import transactions by nearly a third (29%) and spent 25% more (in Euro terms) on importing cars from the UK compared to the same period in 2016.
The FEXCO data mirrors official statistics compiled by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry. In the first half of 2017 it registered 44,500 used cars imported from the UK, a 46% increase on the same period in 2016
The SIMI data also shows that in 2017 Ireland has imported an average of nearly 7,500 UK cars a month – 2,000 more than the average during the six months preceding the UK’s Brexit referendum.