Sharp fall in new car sales may reveal extent of problem for the Irish motor trade
The latest CSO figures may suggest that there has been a sharp fall in new car sales and pre-registrations of new cars are concealing the true state of the Irish car market at the present time.
The number of new cars taxed fell to 14.5 per cent in March for the first time compared to the same month last year.
The Central Statistics Office has revealed that there were 17,180 new cars on Irish roads last month, and a total of 60,753 for the first quarter which was a drop of 11.1 per cent on the first three months last year, 2016.
What the CSO figures suggest is that the motor trade is experiencing a troubling decline in sales over the first quarter of 2017.
Members of the motor trade are scrambling to boost sales figures by pre-registering new cars or selling in large numbers to the fleet and hire-drive operators
New vehicles totalled 21,216 in March and 73,221 in the first quarter.
We must remember though, that the CSO data differs from the latest new car registration figures for the same three-month period.
According to the new car registration figures, 75,945 new cars were registered for the first time this year, down 8.3 per cent on last year.
CSO data differs from that issued by the motoring industry in Ireland. The CSO measures the number of cars taxed for the first time, while the industry figures are based on new registrations issued by the Vehicle Registration Office.
The sizeable difference of 15,192 new cars is mainly due to the fact that all vehicles must be registered before they go on the road in which case it is up to the buyer to sort out their motor tax.
Other differences are due to the fact that car hire company may buy a fleet of cars and not register them for road tax as they are considered ‘off the road’.
Still, more differences which contribute to the difference in figures are demonstrator models and so-called “pre-registration” vehicles, which are cars registered to meet sales targets but not yet sold to the public.
New car registration figures also reveal that Toyota is the best-selling new car brand, ahead of Ford, Volkswagen and Hyundai.
CSO figures also show Volkswagen to be the most popular car brand with 13.2 per cent of the new cars licensed for the first time this year, ahead of Nissan with 10.8 per cent, Hyundai with 9 per cent, Ford with 8.2 per cent and then Toyota.