Huge surge in car imports from the UK driven by plummeting sterling
Irish car buyers more than doubled their spending on importing vehicles from the UK during the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2016, data claims.
The analysis of 2,000 transactions, made through Fexco Corporate Payments, shows that by the end of June, Irish car buyers had spent 134pc more on importing used cars from the UK than they did in the first six months of 2016.
That tallies with the number of cars being imported from the UK having risen due to the Brexit-induced weakness in the pound.
There has been a surge in used UK imports following sterling's post-Brexit plunge against the euro.
So far this year, imports are thought to be averaging 7,500 or so a month.
David Lamb, head of dealing at Fexco Corporate Payments, said that one of the legacies of the recession is there is a shortage of used cars of a certain age as so few new vehicles were bought during the crisis years.
"The UK has a far greater supply of used cars but the cost and red tape involved in importing a UK-registered car into Ireland has traditionally put off all but professional or the most committed individual buyers. But all that changed with the abrupt fall in the pound unleashed by Britain's vote for Brexit," he said.
"One year on from the referendum, Irish car buyers - both individuals and garages - are queuing up to capitalise on sterling's weakness by importing cars from the UK."
New car sales are being hit by the economic uncertainty around Brexit, a dip in consumer confidence and a surge in used UK imports.
Official figures show an 8pc drop in first-quarter registrations. Data released earlier this month by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) shows that new car registrations for the month of June were down 14pc when compared to June of last year, while new car registrations in the year to date are down 10pc on the same period last year.