Sales of €100k cars going into overdrive this year
WE are buying far more €100,000-plus cars this year as the stigma of owning a luxury motor fades with the gloom of the recession.
And bigger numbers of people are also purchasing prestige sports utility vehicles (SUVs).
As car sales generally have shot up since January, an Irish Independent analysis of cars registered up to the end of July reveals plenty of buying at the upper end of the market.
For example there have been 13 Bentleys registered here so far -compared with six registered last year.
They typically start from stg£140,845 for the six-litre W12 2dr GT, but with currency adjustments and Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) they cost in the region of €200,000 each.
So far 81 models of the new flagship Mercedes S-Class (inset top) saloon, which starts at just under €100,000 - but with some costing €120,000 or more - have been bought. Just five were bought last year, mainly because the old model was being replaced.
Demand for expensive luxury SUVs which start under the €100,000 mark also underlines the growing trend for spending big on cars with snob appeal.
They include the BMW X5 with 219 registered - this is up massively from 24 in first seven months of 2013. Registrations of the Range Rover Sport (inset bottom) have almost tripled from 38 to 100.
And there are steadily growing numbers of buyers for smaller prestige SUVs, such as Audi's Q5, up to 258 from 215, and Range Rover's Evoque, up 232 from 201.
Purchases of large luxury saloons have more than doubled from 60 to 148, according to the latest SIMI figures.
And registrations of large prestige SUVs are up to 1,904 since January - compared with 1,352 for the corresponding period in 2013. Prestige sport car sales have also jumped - from 96 to 327 - according to the figures.