Friday 18 October 2019

Motor industry's last-minute plea to minister: steer clear of more car taxation in Budget

Brian Cooke, SIMI
Brian Cooke, SIMI
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

The motor industry made a last-minute plea for Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to steer clear of more car taxation in the Budget.

It did so as latest figures show new-car registrations year-to-date are down 7.5pc to 113,958.

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There are fears those numbers could get a lot worse next year.

A combination of the fallout from Brexit and additional Budget taxation measures could send new-car sales plunging to as low as 70,000 in 2020, according to economist Jim Power.

"New-car sales have fallen in each of the last three years, and with Brexit now only weeks away, business risk in our sector is at its highest level in almost a decade," said SIMI chief Brian Cooke.

Against that backdrop any increase in car taxation would further undermine a fragile new-car market, he warned.

This, in turn, will endanger both Exchequer revenues and employment, he said.

"Our industry can't afford for the Government to get Budget 2020 wrong, as the impact would have far reaching consequences that could extend for many years - well beyond 2020."

The latest SIMI statistics highlight one of the industry's major concerns - to stem the massive flow of used imports.

The figures for September show there was a 20.3pc increase (to 10,220) on the corresponding month last year, while year-to-date imports are 6.7pc (82,432) ahead of 2018.

There is better news on the electric vehicle front, with registrations increasing every month.

Some 2,976 EVs have been registered so far this year.

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