New vehicle registrations continue to rise

Official statistics released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show that new car registrations for the year 2015 (124,945) finished 30 per cent ahead of 2014 (96,284). That was itself a 30 per cent increase on circa 74,000 units registered in 2013.

The top five selling makes were: Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, Hyundai, and Nissan. The top five selling models were: Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Octavia, Ford Fiesta
95.5 per cent of new cars sold were in emissions categories A or B, and 71 per cent of new cars sold were diesel engined, whilst 27 per cent of new cars sold had petrol engines.

However, petrol sales increased by 40 per cent whereas diesel sales only increased by 26 per cent. The top 5 new car colours were: black (20 per cent), silver (20 per cent), grey (17 per cent), white (13 per cent), and blue (11 per cent).

The month of December registered a slight decrease -1.44 per cent (342) compared with the same month in 2014 (347). However, it should be noted that volumes for December are very small.

Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV), for 2015 recorded a 42 per cent (23,722) increase on registrations last year (16,732), while the month of December saw registrations perform strongly with a 50 per cent increase (236) in comparison to December 2014 (157).

The top five selling LCV makes: Ford, Volkswagen, Renault, Toyota, and Citroen. And the top five selling models: Ford Transit, Ford Transit Connect, Volkswagen Caddy, Renault Trafic, and Citroen Berlingo.

HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) registrations, for 2015 (2,135) were up 9 per cent on 2014.

Commenting on the figures SIMI Director General Alan Nolan said: “We are pleased that 2015 has turned out to be a good year of continued recovery for our Industry, which is a very strong indicator of the health of the general economy. We now look forward to 2016 with greater optimism and a real potential to see registrations return to normal levels that we have not seen since before 2008. Sales within the different sectors have performed well in 2015 and we would expect to see this improvement continue in the new year.”

Can new car sales for 2016 hit the heights of the boom?

With new car sales up 30 per cent for the second year running, can the increases continue this year?

The industry had estimated total sales of approximately 115,000-120,000 units at the start of 2015 and the final tally has exceeded these predictions yet again. This is the second year running that sales have increased by a factor of 30 per cent as the recovery in the Motor Trade has met and exceeded expectations.

It has been a long road back from the highs of 2007 when 186,000 odd new cars were sold. But can these levels of increases continue and will the motor trade reach the heady heights of 2007 this year?

New car sales fell off a cliff in 2009 and despite increases, which were artificially supported by scrappage, in 2010 and 2011 sales decreased again 2012 and 2013 and it’s really only in the last year that the motor trade has returned to healthy new car sales levels.

Commenting on the figures, Michael Rochford, Managing Director of said: “It is very unlikely that sales this year will reach the levels seen back in 2007, however another year of positive growth is being predicted by the sector. Most of the senior people whom I have spoken with in the industry have said that an increase of 15-20% this year resulting in sales of 140-150k units would be a fabulous result and they reckon its achievable.”

Used car market not keeping pace

The used market suffered however with lack of availability of good quality used stock continuing to be a problem. Sales of used cars decreased year on year and with the Euro weak against sterling used car imports also decreased by almost 12 per cent meaning the lack of used stock is more pronounced.

Commenting on the used market, Rochford said “With the economy in recovery supply in the used car market cannot meet demand and as a result prices remain high and the lack of choice and value in this sector coupled with the amazing value being offered by the new car sector has meant many buyers are finding it cheaper to finance a new car rather than a one or two year old new car”.

47,865 used Imports registered in 2015 (an 11.8 per cent decrease). The top five makes imported were: Ford, Volkswagen, Vauxhall (Opel here), Toyota, and Audi. And the top five models imported were: the Ford Focus, VW Passat, VW Golf, Vauxhall Insignia, and Audi A4.