Imported used cars pass the historic 100,000 mark

Imported used cars for the first time in history have reached 100,755 for 2018 an increase of 7.81 per cent on 2017 (93,454). Meanwhile used commercial vehicle imports decreased during 2018; (-2.9%) and similarly with HGV’s, which were down -0.5 per cent.

Official statistics also released today by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show that the total new car registrations for the year 2018 finished, at 125,557 4.4 per cent down on 2017 (131,332).

From an aftersales viewpoint, the increased numbers of used cars cancels out the drop in new car sales. And it can justifiably be argued that more used car imports will benefit the aftermarket sooner than new cars. This is not a great comfort for new vehicle importers and main dealerships.

A small number of counties kicked against the national trend and registered increased numbers of new cars. They were Carlow (+0.32%); Kildare (+0.44%); Louth (+0.79%); and the county with the greatest percentage improvement in 2018 was Wexford with +3.42 per cent.

The worst performing counties in new car registration percentage terms were Cavan (-15.81%); Roscommon (-12.57%); Leitrim (-12.16%); and Donegal (-11.69%).

Volkswagen was the leading car brand in 2018 with a market share of 10.97 per cent.
They are followed by Toyota, Hyundai, Ford and Nissan in fifth place.

The top Passenger Cars By Make

Make – 2018 Units – 2018 % Share – 2017 % Share
1. VOLKSWAGEN – 13,775 – 10.97% – 10.53%
2. TOYOTA – 12,037 – 9.59% – 9.66%
3. HYUNDAI – 11,633 – 9.27% – 9.07%
4. FORD – 11,288 – 8.99% – 9.32%
5. NISSAN – 9,701 – 7.73% – 7.88%
6. SKODA – 9,116 – 7.26% – 6.88%
7. KIA – 7,326 – 5.83% – 5.43%
8. RENAULT – 7,176 – 5.72% – 6.34%
9. PEUGEOT – 5,596 – 4.46% – 2.96%
10. AUDI – 4,919 – 3.92% – 4.22%

Other noteworthy stats show that new electric car registrations for 2018 increased with 1,233 registered in comparison to 622 in 2017.

The diesel and petrol market share have moved closer, with diesel in 2018 accounting for 54 per cent and petrol (including Petrol Hybrid) 44 per cent.

Light and Heavy Commercials
New Light Commercial Vehicle registrations (LCV) finished at 25,561, recording an increase of 5.55 per cent for the year in 2018, while New Heavy Commercial Vehicle registrations (HGV) 2,590 saw a slight decrease of 0.5 per cent over the 12 months compared to 2017 (2,603).

Commenting on the figures SIMI Director General Designate, Brian Cooke told AutoTrade.ie: “Despite the strong economic performance of Ireland last year, 2018 proved very challenging for new car sales. The drop in new car registrations is largely a result of Brexit and the associated weakness of Sterling. This has led to a surge in used car imports over the last 2 years, and 2018 saw used imports surpass the 100,000 mark for the first time.”

He added: “The Motor Industry is however as always forward looking, and with the new 191 sales period now commencing, January and the first quarter will be the key focus for dealers. In this context, the new car market is hugely competitive, with a wide choice of models and creative incentives, as well as the availability of a variety of financing options driving real value for new car customers.

For consumers looking at the used car market, whether an Irish car or a used import, SIMI’s advice is to shop around and consider the real benefits of shopping in your local retailer, who not only provides value to the customer but also encourages economic activity locally.”