Saturday 24 February 2018

It's just got boomier. Even those Maseratis are back in fashion

The Maserati Quattroporte — two new Maserati cars were delivered to Irish buyers last month
The Maserati Quattroporte — two new Maserati cars were delivered to Irish buyers last month
Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

The sumptuous €100,000 Maserati Quattroporte sports car has long been Bono's favourite run-around, but when the recession hit, sales of the thirsty Italian thoroughbred tanked in Ireland.

Now, in a potent symbol of returning cash and confidence, two new Maserati cars were discreetly delivered to Irish buyers last month.

Consumer confidence has hit a nine-year high with households now expecting the first rise in income since 2007.

And, as well as increased spending on hospitality, new car sales have gone through the roof.

Lower oil prices may have tempted some to go out and buy new cars.

Audi, the premium German marque, reported its best ever January sales here

The manufacturer delivered 1,208 cars in Ireland last month, a 24pc rise on the same period in 2014.

But it's not just at the high end.

Sales of new cars have soared - from small family cars to top of the range executive saloons - and will comfortably reach 100,000 sales this year for the first time since the economic crash.

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has revealed there were 29,948 new car registrations last month. That's up 31pc compared to January 2014, which were also up some 30pc on the previous year.

Encouragingly, sales of light commercial vehicles, the backbone of small businesses, were up by 70pc (4,839) in January.

This means that for the first time in six years, sales in this business sector will exceed 20,000 in 2015.

Strong post-Christmas sales in the retail sector have also boosted confidence, the Economic and Social Research Institute/KBC Bank consumer sentiment index shows.

KBC Bank economist, Austin Hughes, says the results of its latest survey suggest stronger consumer spending this year.

The overall consumer sentiment index increased in January to 101.1 up from 90.5 in December.

"The key driver of the rise in confidence in January is a notably more positive view of household finances," Austin Hughes said.

He said that the January survey shows that for the first time since mid-2007, more consumers expect their household finances to improve rather than worsen in the year ahead.

A separate report suggests that Irish businesses now have the rosiest outlook in Europe.

The international business study from consultants Grant Thornton found that Irish businesses are the most optimistic in Europe about growth prospects in 2015.

They are the most confident they've been since 2007, with 82pc positive about the chances of business growth this year.

The ESRI/KBC Bank consumer sentiment index shows we are also more optimistic about the outlook for the jobs market.

Consumers finally expect to see an improvement in their household finances after years of decline.

"Sentiment has improved for every category. Consumers have become more positive about the buying environment for major household durables," said Ciara Morley of the ESRI.

Sunday Independent

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