New vehicle sales for this year have already surpassed total for all of 2015
And used imports are surging - with an average of 5,500 a month coming in, new figures show
We have now bought more new cars in 2016 than we did through all of 2015.
New-car registrations are running 19.4pc ahead of last year after the first month of 162-reg July 'sales' finished strongly.
A fall-off of some sort is expected for August but experts still forecast total-year sales of 150,000 to 153,000.
The new Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) statistics reveal:
•Registrations of all new cars are up 19.4pc - to 131,264 - for the first seven months of the year;
• July registrations outstripped the equivalent month in 2015 by 8.47pc to 29,931;
• Used imports are surging and running at around 5,500 a month now;
• Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) are up 15pc (4,341) on July 2015 and 23pc (22,746) overall;
• Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) registrations are up 41pc year to date.
Hyundai lead the automakers' stakes on 14,460 new registrations. But the other big names - Toyota (13,952), Ford (13,426) and Volkswagen (13,419) - are all in hot pursuit and can be expected to put in a major push for the top spot before the year is out.
The Top 10 selling models this year are: Hyundai Tucson (6,922), Ford Focus (4,495), Volkswagen Golf (4,378), Nissan Qashqai (4,268), Skoda Octavia (4,162), Ford Fiesta (3,631), Toyota Corolla (3,463), Toyota Yaris (3,345), Volkswagen Passat saloon (2,788) and Toyota Auris (2,627).
SIMI Director General Alan Nolan says the first-half growth has continued into July at a noticeably slower rate due, possibly, to Brexit and the fact that sales are reaching normal levels.
Mr Nolan said a new-car market of 150,000 means more than €1bn in tax revenues and 40,000-plus are employed in the industry.
It is never too soon to get a Budget appeal in and he took the opportunity to do so. "In this context, we would encourage a Budget strategy focused on building consumer confidence and improving the business environment, particularly with all recent economic forecasts for Ireland anticipating lower growth rates than had been previously expected for the remainder of this year and for 2017," he said.
Some other facts from the statistics:
• Grey is the top-selling colour for both July and the year to date;
• 103,037 of all cars registered were in the lowest CO2 category for VRT and road tax;
• Electric car registrations are currently running at 341 (-14pc);
• Hatchbacks account for nearly one-third of all purchases;
• Diesel cars remain by far the most popular though there is a 1pc dip to 70pc;
• Petrol-car buying shows a minuscule rise to 27.86pc;
• Petrol-electric hybrids have shown a huge (90pc) increase to 2,238 so far this year;
• Plug-ins are up to 208 from 78.