Surge in luxury car sales as new 142 reg starts
AROUND 4,000 new cars are expected to be bought over the next week as the new 142-reg period kicked off with a high level of buying.
And in a further indication of economic recovery, there were increasing signs that people were spending more of their disposable income on cars.
Based on the level of pre-orders and enquiries yesterday – the first day of the new 142-reg – experts say it could be the busiest July for sales since 2008.
Many in the motor industry believe people will buy more cars than the 12,000 that were registered last July, which was the first of the new dual-reg-plate system.
That would mean nearly one-in-five of all cars for the year being bought this month.
And in a hint of a return to better times, there has been a 52pc increase in the number of 4x4 and SUV sales.
Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) director general Alan Nolan said: "While it's only the first day of the new '142' sales period, dealers are expecting a busy month.
"Although we are very well aware of the fragility of the recovery in the sector, the motor industry is in a better position than last year, consumer finance is more readily available, retail consumers are returning to the market and there are strong offers from all brands for the July plate."
And customers are certainly happier to commit an increased part of their disposable income on a vehicle purchase."
He said that was particularly true of the van market which was regarded as a better indicator of how the economy is doing.
"If small businesses feel confident enough to upgrade their commercial vehicles, then that augurs well for the whole economy."
He said some of the increase in buying was down to the pent-up demand brought about by the huge drop in sales since 2009 but increased consumer confidence was playing its part too.
Another factor is the increasing availability of credit.
New car sales so far this year (65,715) are running 23pc ahead of the first six months of 2013, with each month averaging an increase of 18pc.
Sales last month were down to a trickle in advance of the July splurge but managed to stay 1pc ahead of June 2013.
Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford are the top selling brands so far this year with the Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai and Ford Focus best selling cars.