We're splashing out on new cars as buyers rush to own 142-reg vehicle
NEARLY 19,000 new cars were registered last month in one of the clearest examples yet of rising consumer confidence.
The biggest mid-summer splurge to date sent sales spiralling by 61pc – to an unprecedented 18,776 – as buyers rushed to own a 142-reg vehicle.
While a number of cars were registered by distributors in the latter days of the month to boost market share, the increase overall means sales for the year are running 23.25pc ahead of last year.
And van sales were up by a massive 97pc for the month (46pc year to date), further underpinning the belief that businesses are feeling confident enough to invest and expand.
Apart from signalling growing belief in the upturn, the level of buying also gives and indication of the extent of pent-up demand from buyers and the wider availability of finance for car purchase.
The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) figures show 7,000 more new cars were registered last month than in July 2013 when 11,620 were registered. The level of registrations means they substantially outstrip the combined total sales for the months of July and August last year.
SIMI chief Alan Nolan says if sales continue in this vein in the medium term, the Exchequer is on track to benefit from €1bn in motor taxation in two years' time – provided there are no negative measures in the Budget.
He added: "Although we are seeing more business confidence and the outlook remains quite positive, the industry still remains cautious."
So far in 2014, a total of 84,474 new cars have been registered, up 30pc on the 68,541 for the corresponding period in 2013.
Around 10,000 more cars have been registered in the first seven months of 2014 than for the whole of last year.
The big-selling brands were Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan, Opel, Skoda, Renault, Kia and Audi.
The top-selling models include the Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai, Ford's Focus and Fiesta, Toyota Corolla, Skoda Octavia, Hyundai ix35, Toyota's Yaris and Auris and the Kia Sportage.
The level of sales last month suggests the 'July plate' is beginning to establish itself in the mind of the ordinary motorist, according to Ford Ireland chief Eddie Murphy.
"I am even more heartened to see light van sales up a whopping 95pc," he said.