Official statistics released today by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show a decrease in Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) registrations of 8.41% (3,116) on March 2016 (3,402) and year to date are down10.66% (13,414). Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HGV) are also down 3.49% for the month of March (304) compared to the same month last year (315) and down 2.74% year to date.
New car registrations for the month of March are down 7.49% (19,916) compared to (21,529) March 2016, while new cars registrations year to date are down 8.28% (75,967 ) on the same period last year (82,824).
Commenting on the figures SIMI Director General, Alan Nolan said: ”We have previously indicated that the extent of the apparent fall in registrations over recent weeks were at least in part a question of timing, as in 2016 Easter had fallen in March with the result that the seasonal registration of Hire-drive fleets was always going to be later this year. With these starting to come through in the last few days of the month we have seen the figures start to improve but clearly the trend is indicating a reduction on last year’s market.”
Although the Irish Economy is flying at the moment the car market also requires positive consumer sentiment, which peaked in the early part of 2016, but has, according to the ESRI, been edging slightly lower, in a ‘one step forward two steps back’ process since then. The ESRI suggest that the economic upswing in 2016 may have overpromised and under-delivered relative to consumer expectations; things have stopped getting worse but consumers may not have seen a clear improvement in their own circumstances. Nonetheless they confirm that consumers remain cautiously positive in their outlook and hopefully this will continue to improve.
Alan Nolan continued: “The other notable trend in the statistics is the increase of 8,579 (56.1%) in imported used cars (total 23,864 for the first quarter) as a result of weaker Sterling due to Brexit. 71% of these are over 4 years old and 26% over 7. Despite the weakness of Sterling the number of new cars imported has been minimal at just 0.17% (130) of the market in the First Quarter, underlining the incredible value for new car buyers in the Irish Market. There really has never been a better time to be a new car buyer.”