Saturday 17 March 2018

Automakers have high hopes for record sales as new 152-reg buying kicks off

* Independent Motors asks experts for July forecast and they predict even bigger mid-summer spend than last year

Car sales are expected to increase on this time last year
Car sales are expected to increase on this time last year
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Most new models for the 152-reg period are in the dealerships - or soon will be - and now it is a matter of how many will be driven away.

Last July, new-car registrations soared by 61pc to an unprecedented 18,776. That meant 7,000 more people bought a new car than in July 2013 (11,620).

Will more be sold this month? What is the mood out there like?

We've asked those with their fingers on the pulse to give us an indication of what they are expecting - for the month and the year in general.

Remember, these are the people who have to make the big calls on what buyers are looking for and how many will come out. They are dealing with millions of euro worth of stock so they can't afford to get it wrong.

Not everyone we asked was in a position to give us their views and we understand that.

Here's a quick run through the assessments of those who did.

Honda's Adrian Cole is quite specific: "We forecast about 30pc of this year's registrations to come from the second plate. We are looking at a market in excess of 23,500 for July, and we expect a total market this year of 120,000."

Ford Ireland chief Ciaran McMahon reckons July will follow the trend with a 25pc lift in car sales - and a 50pc hike in commercial/vans.

He told us: "I think overall the full market will finish in the range of 120,000 to 125,000 cars and approx 21,500 vans."

Hyundai's Stephen Gleeson says: "It is difficult for us to speak for the industry but in terms of ourselves we anticipate an increase of greater than 30pc compared to July last year."

Volvo's managing director Adrian Yeates told us: "Given the general positive level of consumer sentiment, I believe the July market will exceed the 18,700 registrations from last year. Based on the current industry run rate of +27pc, a result of around 24,000 new registrations this July is not out of the question."

He adds: "However, the traditional car-man in me finds it hard to believe that January volumes will be eclipsed by July's."

KIA Ireland chief James Brooks says his company is predicting the market for July will go to somewhere between 18,000 and 20,000 new cars.

Mazda Ireland's Tony Howarth infoms us: "I cannot see the industry (achieving) less than 25pc year-on-year growth due to the strong demand for new cars shown so far this year and strength of new car offers such as low-rate PCP finance."

Ciaran Allen, sales manager Mercedes passenger cars, is predicting total market sales in the region of 125,000.

He expects July registrations to exceed the 20,000 mark.

He anticipates Mercedes-Benz registrations in July to reach the equivalent of 30pc of their expected volume for 2015.

Peugeot's sales and marketing director Colin Sheridan feels the total market will be 145,000-to-150,000 cars and vans.

"We forecast the July car market to reach 25,000-30,000 passenger cars and vans (+30pc)."

Lars Himmer, managing director Volkswagen Group Ireland (Audi, Volkswagen, SEAT, Skoda) says: "The Irish economy continues its recovery, and the car market is set to return to more normal levels of 140,000+ from next year.

"For 2015 we expect the final number of registrations to land between 120,000 and 125,000."

Louise Murphy, Citroen's deputy managing director and commercial director says they reckon it will be an extremely busy period.

Patrick Magee, Country Operations Manager, Renault Group, says their bank, Renault Finance, has lent €75m to date in 2015 and forecasts a lively July.

Suzuki's Declan Maguire agrees we are heading for 125,000 for the year. Even if growth for July remains at 20pc of the annual registrations, it will account for 25,000 new sales this month, he says.

Indo Motoring

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