SIMI, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, has issued the official 181 new vehicle registration figures for January along with their final review of 2017. Car sales figures for January are down by 4.8% compared to 2017, however, sales of light commercials are up by 6.3%.
The report highlights a number of price decreases in the cost of motoring. The average price of a new car in 2017 was 2% lower than a year earlier, while the cost of insurance was 10.9% lower a year earlier. However, the cost of fuel increased with petrol up 4.2% and diesel up 3.6% last year.
According to the report, Brexit is having a substantial impact. Despite Ireland’s strong economic performance and high levels of consumer confidence, the motor industry faced an uncertain year with monthly declines in new car registrations figures.
During this period, used car imports increased by 29.5%, aided by the weakness in sterling, this also impacted on new car sales.
Looking ahead to 2018, SIMI forecasts that economic factors look positive however Brexit related uncertainty looks set to continue.
Economist Jim Power commented, “In normal circumstances, the positive economic backdrop would be expected to deliver growth of up to 10% in the new car market in 2018.
“However, the distortionary impact of sterling weakness and the associated surge in used imports from the UK will in all likelihood more than offset the positive economics.
“For 2018, the used import market is projected to grow by 20% to reach 114,950. New car registrations in 2018 are forecast at 118,220, which would represent a decline of 10% on the 2017 outturn.”
Alan Nolan, director general SIMI said, “2017 finished down 10.4% and also recorded a shift in the market-share of diesel cars from 70% to 65%.
“The same trends have been apparent in January’s new car sales, which have delivered a steady start to the 181 registration period but Brexit has continued to impact.
“Diesel continues to be the choice of engine for over half of Irish new car buyers however the noticeable trend towards petrol and hybrid vehicles which started last year has continued in 2018.”