Car sales surge helps to create 2,200 new jobs
It's a tale of two economies which shows that, despite the gloom elsewhere, the healthy level of 2011 car sales continued in Ireland during March.
Figures just released for the first quarter of the year show that 47,996 new cars have been sold so far, an increase of 14 per cent on last year. More importantly, the motor industry says that an extra 2,200 jobs have been created over the last year.
According to the figures released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), a total of 14,426 cars were registered last month, up 785 units or a 5.8 per cent increase on the same month last year.
Ford achieved a car sales volume of 1,803 units to take the top slot, followed by Volkswagen with 1,786 and Toyota with 1,523. Nissan and Renault came next, with 1,484 and 1,466 respectively.
Commenting on the figures, Eddie Murphy, the SIMI president and managing director of Ford Ireland, said: "In spite of the doom and gloom on the banking front, car sales across Ireland remained strong, with a 5.8 per cent increase on the figure for March 2010. Overall, the market is benefiting from the extended scrappage scheme and a pent-up demand from customers who have deferred purchases over the last two years. This is particularly evident in a more robust fleet sector."
Light commercial vehicle sales saw an even bigger increase year-on-year of 7.4 per cent. In March 2011, there were 1,710 vehicles sold, an increase of 118 units for the same month last year.
On the increase in jobs over the last year, Mr Murphy said, "The increase can be compared to another Google opening up here. That's how significant it is. These jobs represent a saving of €55m for the Government. New car sales have a direct impact on employment; an increase in car sales means an increase in jobs.
"The first three months of the year are the most crucial in our industry and it is clear that scrappage is continuing to be a big draw for motorists, with asking prices being so good. This year will still be a challenging one, but I predict an improvement in new car sales this year. Hopefully, as levels of business begin to return to normal, more and more companies can continue to expand and re-employ."