Sales of new cars surging as motorists return to the market
SALES of new cars are up over 30pc so far this year, with a 45pc rise in April alone.
The surge in demand is being driven by private motorists returning to the market for the first time in years, industry experts said.
The latest Central Statistics Office figures show there were 11,757 new private cars licensed in April, up 44.9pc on the same month last year.
And some 51,124 new cars have been licensed in the first four months of the year, which is over 12,000 more than the same period in 2013, and nearly as many as were sold in the whole of 2009.
Consumers were finally returning to the market, showing a cautious optimism in the Irish economy and easier access to credit, said Alan Nolan of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).
"The hire and company sector has been a mainstay of the car industry over recent years, but private consumers are finally returning to the market," he said.
The CSO figures show that the number of imported secondhand cars licensed so far this year rose by 22pc to 18,154.
Sales of goods vehicles, meanwhile, rose by 46pc to more than 6,000 in the year so far, while tractor sales increased by 22pc to 881.
Volkswagen is the bestselling new car, with 6,102 purchases this year, followed by Toyota, Ford, Hundai, Nissan and Skoda. The most sought-after used car imports were Ford, Volkswagen, Vauxhall, Audi, Toyota and BMW.
Diesel cars continue to out-sell petrol models by three-to-one, with lower-emission models selling best as motorists try to reduce road tax costs.
There were 106 electric vehicles sold so far this year and 579 hybrid petrol/electric models.
A report for SIMI this week predicted that new car sales could surge to 100,000 next year due to increased confidence.