LATEST figures show new car registrations for the first quarter have fallen 13pc behind last year. It took a last-minute burst of registering to keep the gap down to that, with 56pc of March's total registrations recorded on the last five days.
History suggests there was also heavy 'pre-registering' by some marques to bolster market share as real sales are dwindling. 'Pre-registering' is where dealers register new cars and sell them the following month as 'nearly new' for substantially less.
It is a growing phenomenon and has prompted fears that the value of a car bought early in a month will be adversely affected by the same model being sold later on for less.
The first-quarter results were compiled by Motorcheck.ie, with SIMI due to publish its results today.