Brexit posing us challenges and opening up opportunities
Brexit is posing stiff challenges for the Irish motor industry - but it can open up opportunities too, it has been claimed.
Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) president Alan Greene acknowledged the hurdles that lie ahead for sellers and buyers as he spoke at the recent SIMI Irish Motor Industry Awards event.
In speaking of the challenges and opportunities he also painted in a backdrop of the scope and breadth of economic activity and taxation generated by the industry.
For example, he pointed to the fact that now there are 41,000 people working across the motor industry who make a big contribution to the economy and business activity.
And there are the rest of us motorists who contributed €1.5bn in new and used-car sales taxes last year.
That is not to mention the €5.5bn overall accrued to the Exchequer in motoring-related charges.
With the ripples from the Brexit decision still affecting business in myriad ways, Mr Greene said companies across the industry are faced with "changing market dynamics" this year.
That is putting it mildly. But he felt the changes can also yield opportunities.
He also outlined other key areas of concern that are directly related to car ownership.
They include the ever-present issue of road safety and the spiralling cost of motor insurance (espeically for younger drivers).
He accepted, however, that the industry has a role to play in educating motorists on the importance of maintaining their car.
That is particularly important in view of the fact that more than 750,000 cars fail their NCT test each year (most of the on first test, it should be stressed).
On insurance, he hoped recommendations from the Oireachtas Committee and the 'Cost of Insurance Working Group' would impact over the next two years and ease the burden on consumers and businesses.
Another area under increasing focus is emissions.
He said: "There is no doubt that we all need to be concerned about the impact of emissions on health, but we need to seek for holistic solutions that seek to maintain the benefits of lower CO2 with a reduction in the other harmful emissions."
He was speaking as more than 700 senior figures from the industry and their guests attended the ceremony to celebrate those who made the shortlist and, ultimately, those who won the awards.