Monday 23 October 2017

Car sales on the rise as scrappage kicks in

Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

AFTER a sluggish start, hampered by the big chill and floods, car buyers are finally heading for the showrooms.

At one stage it was looking disastrous, with sales lagging behind the corresponding period for last year by as much as 40pc. Up to Monday they had reached around 8,600.

By Monday they trailed by 17pc and were 9pc yesterday. However, there were predictions from within the industry that sales could move into positive territory by the end of the month – with some saying the increase could be 4pc or 5pc. Of course, they are still significantly down (66pc +) on January 2008 – and that puts everything in true perspective.

Society of Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) chief Alan Nolan told the Irish Independent he expected sales would be up on January last year by the end of the month.

“It will take a little bit of time to get back on track but the feedback from dealers is that the number of orders in the system has increased,” he said. There had been a hugely disruptive couple of weeks at the start of the year but there was little doubt of some sort of rhythm developing.

Mr Nolan sees a gradual improvement, particularly as the scrappage scheme is likely to stretch out over quite a few months. He believes that as cars bought in 2000 come of age (they have to be 10 years old or above to qualify) then people will start availing of it.

That should spread purchasing and impact on sales for several months. The immediate viability of several outlets could hang on such a relatively slim line of sales as sales tail off dramatically after March. Meantime, it will probably take until the end of the first or second week of February to get a true picture of how sales overall are progressing.

Most dealerships are offering to at least match the level of scrappage on cars and potential buyers are well advised to shop around extensively as there is massive competition in the scramble for sales.

There are real deals to be made so patience and perseverance are required. Smaller cars are likely to be the prime targets of many scrappage buyers but, under the new system of emissions being linked to road tax, motors with what appear to be larger diesel engines also come within the ambit of the deal.

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