Car sales in reverse but dealers hope for second half recovery
BUYERS and sellers of new cars are hoping for a better deal when the year's second registration period starts on July 1, after new figures showed a plunge in purchases last month.
Registrations fell heavily in May and are expected to fall further this month as buyers wait for expected mid-summer bargains when the '132' reg plates appear from July 1.
The motor industry is hoping it will give a badly needed boost to sales and help protect hundreds of jobs after SIMI figures revealed new car registrations are down 14.5pc so far this year.
They plunged 22.5pc last month alone. A total of 5,963 cars were registered in May, 1,735 fewer than in the corresponding month in 2012, while 51,574 have been sold so far this year.
The figures reflect a significant tail-off in consumer buying as quite a number have been pre-registered by distributors and dealers for later sale as "nearly-new". The practice keeps market share but does not necessarily reflect real buying trends. Now the industry is gearing up for the country's first mid-year 'new-reg' period starting in July which, it is hoped, will spark a good shopping month throughout June in advance of the new plate.
However, some sources feel it may not give the summer lift that had been expected. Certainly the fall-off in May will take a lot of making up in July. Yet, potential buyers could benefit from what is sure to be a cut-throat market on prices.
Cars registered from July 1 onwards will have a '132' reg plate as opposed to the '131' on those bought since January this year.
Normally sales would taper off from now to the end of December.
But SIMI's Alan Nolan says that with the new '132' registration period beginning in July, consumers could benefit "big time" from buying at this time of year.
He said there will be a lot of deals on offer to mark the arrival of the new reg plate.
"Certainly, June should be a really good shopping month," he said.