Dealers rev up for price war on 132 registrations
THOUSANDS of motorists are expected to buy a new 132-reg car from today.
The flurry of buying is anticipated to mark the country's first mid-year registration period as 132 takes over from 131.
But just how many will be tempted by the "132 bargains" remains to be seen, as fewer than expected have bought cars so far this year.
Dealers face an anxious wait to see if their price war will attract sufficient numbers to offset the slump in sales over the past two months. There should be some pent-up demand because June sales plunged by a substantial 60pc, according to latest figures seen by the Irish Independent.
Most of the major brands have generated a lot of noise about lower prices, better trade-ins and special finance deals to tempt those buyers.
On the downside, there are concerns that the spike in buying in July and August will bring forward sales from September and leave dealers with few sales from the end of August.
There were 4,422 new cars registered last July – 8pc up on the corresponding period in 2011. Industry sources vary in their predictions for this year but expect at least north of 6,000 to be bought this month. But even that may not cover losses in May and June.
But in a year in which purchases so far are trailing 2012 by around 11,000 – down 17pc according to Motorcheck.ie figures – there is a sense of taking whatever advantage there is from the new era.
Suzanne Sheridan of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) told the Irish Independent: "There is definitely a buzz out there and hopefully this converts to footfall in showrooms."
She agreed there is a sense of the unknown about the whole thing as it is the first year of the dual registration plate.
"While the new plate was brought in as a long-term solution, there is no doubt that there is an interest growing in getting the first ever dual plate," she said.
The dual-registration system was brought in at the motor industry's behest to help spread sales more evenly over the year because they had become concentrated in the January to March period.