Saturday 7 December 2019

Cash-rich buyers driving luxury car sales

Latest hybrid technology sees advance orders on high-end cars, with price tags up to €140k

Pricey: There are eight advance orders for the BMW i8 model which boasts the latest in hybrid technology and costs €140k
Pricey: There are eight advance orders for the BMW i8 model which boasts the latest in hybrid technology and costs €140k

Martin Brennan

Pent-up demand for premium cars with high levels of specification will see a record number of motorists paying out between €100k and €200k for luxury transport in January.

The BMW advance order book for 2015 is up 67pc on this time last year according to the company and sales leader in this segment, Audi, is up "significantly" but did not want to reveal in detail.

Also high in the pre-booking table is Mercedes Benz with orders which indicate a further 20pc growth in sales again next year. Lexus advance orders are up by 50pc with Land Rover/Range Rover up 10pc and Jaguar also showing a 10pc advance. Porsche, now with its own dedicated distributor in Dublin, has a steadily growing market share.

The rush for high-end models is sparked by good consumer sentiment with many motorists now happy to spend more money for their 'must-have' model. Also retail banks are now lending more freely and the increased popularity of PCP (personal contract payments) allowing for fixed monthly payments with the option to buy or renew the contract on a rolling basis is also promoting sales.

So far this year new car sales are up by 30pc at 96,000 units with a conservative forecast of a further 20pc increase next year, bringing the figure to 115,000. As the pre-booking orders continue to mount up towards the year end, many analysts are now predicting this figure may rise to 120,000 new car sales, 10,000 units over more conservative industry forecasts.

The big demand for expensive cars comes on the heels of a year in which there was a dramatic move to get into all the top brand names. Leading in this segment for the past six years is the Audi brand. Sales so far this year are up by 15.6pc giving the marque a 4.5pc market share of the total new car market.

BMW is up 14pc with 4.2pc share while Mercedes Benz, is up 41pc giving the brand a 2.1pc share. Range Rover/Land Rover with a 0.56pc market share saw sales go up by 31pc, with Lexus sales up by a striking 96pc on its 0.4pc market share.

Jaguar with a 0.2pc market share has seen a 23pc rise in sales. These figures apply to sales to the end of October when trading virtually ceases until new 151 registration plates begin in January.

The eagerness to get behind the wheel of top performance models is evidenced by the establishment of a Porsche importer. Joe Duffy, Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, registered 47 sales for models such as the Cayanne where prices range from €82k-€102k (18 sold), the Macan, €71k-€85k (19 sold), the 911,€150k-€180k (2 sold) and Panamera, €106k-€130k (7 sold). These were apart from the Porsche models, mostly demonstrators and second-hand models which were imported privately from Northern Ireland or the UK. Conor Kilduff, who handles the Porsche franchise, says that there are already advance orders for 11 new models for 2015.

And cash-rich punters are not afraid to invest in new technology. Michael Nugent, sales and marketing manager at BMW Ireland says that there are eight advance orders in for the i8 model which boasts the latest in hybrid technology and has a price tag of €140k. There are 16 advance orders for the i3 electric model and the version with range extender which sell at €33k and €38k when the incentives are included.

Michael says: "What is interesting in the orders that are coming through is the amount of extra options being requested. Also there is a pattern emerging that customers are prepared to go that extra bit to get more power. Many who would have settled for two-litre engines in the past are now moving up to three-litres as they realise that improved performance does not mean a penalty at the fuel pumps because of greener technology".

During the first nine months of this year, the motor industry, through road tax, excise duty on fuel, VAT and VRT charges, accounted for a €4.37bn tax take for the government of which €902m accounted for VAT and VRT on new and used car sales. This was an increase of 27.9pc on car sales for the same three-quarter period in 2013. As business picks up thousands of new jobs are being created, industry leaders say.

Employment had fallen dramatically during the recent lean years, with sales plummeting to 57,460 in 2009 from 152,724 in 2008. There has been a gradual increase in the intervening years.

Motorcycle sales are also on the up - those who find the roads too cluttered also find it easier to get parking space.

Sunday Independent

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