A STIMULUS package to kick-start the motor industry is being called for as confusion over the new registration period for July threatens sales.
The confusion is so serious that Transport Minister Leo Varadkar now needs to intervene, a motoring industry expert has claimed.
At the same time the Government and motor industry need to work out a plan to revive sales which are running at less than half of what they should be, he said.
The slump means big losses to the industry, a threat to jobs and lower tax revenue to the Exchequer, according to BMW sales and marketing chief Michael Nugent.
His made the call as dealers took what one industry executive describes as a "last throw of the dice" for this year with all sorts of incentives to get people to buy cars.
However, there are fears buyers will stay away because they think the mid-year switch to 132 plates is a once-off.
Mr Nugent says the time has come for the Government to make it clear that the new system is here to stay.
The Society of the Irish Motor Industry has mounted an information campaign. But sources say that there is the danger that the public may regard it as self-serving.
And that is why it will need a clear message from the Government for people to realise the mid-year registration change is here to stay.
Mr Nugent told the Irish Independent the misconceptions about the registration change being a once-off are feeding into consumer reluctance to spend. "Any excuse at a time like this and people just won't buy. That is why the Government needs to make it clear that there will be registrations for 141, 142, 151, 152 and so on."
He spoke as dealers crank up special-deals activity .
Ford Ireland chief Eddie Murphy said there is huge competition – and there will be more as marques fight for every single sale. "It is the last throw of the dice for this year, so we're going for it aggressively," he told the Irish Independent.
There are some indications that there could be a mini- splurge in July because latest figures for June sales show a 42pc plunge. That suggests people are waiting for 132 registrations.