Hyundai in pole position as race to be best-seller of 2018 begins
The drive to become the country's best-selling family car picks up pace again today with a Hyundai SUV in pole position as dealers register thousands of sparkling 181-reg models.
The top accolade has fallen to Hyundai's Tucson SUV for some years. It could well repeat the feat this year though it faces a tough battle from established models and a flood of new family crossovers and SUVs on the market. The latter include Hyundai's own new small crossover, the Kona, and Volkswagen's T-Roc which is forecast to ultimately outsell the Golf.
Overall, new car registrations for 2017 were down 10pc (131,356 v 146,649 for 2016), according to new Society of the Irish Motor Industry (Simi) figures.
The figures also show the diesel scandal hasn't hit Volkswagen too hard here. The brand emerged as the overall best-seller in the country. Toyota came second with Ford in third, followed by Hyundai and Nissan.
Most of the cars being registered now were ordered towards the end of last year so it will be late in the month at least before current buying trends emerge. Even so, there are likely to be question marks raised about the 'real' level of buying by ordinary consumers.
This follows complaints, by Mercedes especially, that some dealers are artificially inflating sales statistics by registering thousands of cars over the final days of each month to bolster 'sales' - despite having no real buyers for them. The perfectly legal practice is called 'pre-registering'.