New car sales on target to hit Celtic-Tiger levels
New car sales rocketed in the first six months of this year - returning to nearly the same levels as the zenith of the Celtic Tiger in 2008.
The number of new car registrations passed the 100,000 mark between January and June. That is 25pc more sales than the same period last year.
And dealers are confident that sales for all of 2016 will surpass 150,000 for the first time in eight years.
And in a potent symbol of a return to economic growth, 'white van man' is back, with sales of commercial vehicles also rising sharply.
New car registrations were up to 101,338 compared with 82,337 in the first six months of 2015. Light commercial vehicles rose 26pc to 18,417 in the first half of the year and overall heavy goods vehicle registrations are up 42pc compared with the same period last year.
Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) director general Alan Nolan said: "At the start of the year we predicted that this year's registration numbers should reach 150,000 for the first time since 2008 and these figures keep us on track to deliver that.
"From today, of course, the focus turns to the 162 registration period. This year promises to be the first normal year of registrations since the recession and with the range of attractive offers available across all brands, we are confident that 162 will also deliver in the coming months."
Ford is the overall market leader with combined sales of more than 15,000 cars and vans in the six months to June 30.
The marque registered 10,027 cars and 4,979 vans in the first six months, slightly ahead of VW, which actually sold more cars (10,945) but fewer vans (3,060). Toyota is in third place (10,807 cars and 1,358 vans).
So far this year, the best -selling car is the Hyundai Tucson, followed by the Volkswagen Golf (3,585) and the Ford Focus (3,315).
At the upper end of the market, the BMW 5-Series is the most popular. In all, 1,041 have been bought in the first six months, slightly ahead of the Audi A4 (1,025).
Seven out of 10 vehicles sold in the first six months were diesel models.