NEW-CAR buying is back to recession levels, it is claimed, as latest figures reveal that sales slumped further last month.
So far this year, new registrations are down 30pc and will fall for the fourth consecutive year to a cumulative 44pc, it is predicted.
Sales for last month – the beginning of the new 202-reg period – dropped 14pc according to new statistics from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).
Considering predictions of an even worse slide, that might be regarded as something of a result.
However, the volume reflects sales of cars that were postponed from earlier in the year due to the onset of Covid-19.
According to SIMI Director General Brian Cooke there are far-reaching consequences for the inexorable slide month-on-month and year-on-year.
They include fewer new ‘greener’ cars replacing older models with higher, harmful emissions, while lower sales threaten regional employment as dealers’ profitability diminishes.
With the Budget two months away, the industry is calling for a reduction in Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) to allow the car market to get back to ‘normal sustainable levels’.
Mr Cooke said the July registration period did bring much needed activity back. But he added: “COVID-19, on the back of Brexit and an already-falling new car market since 2016, now sees new-car sales back to recession levels, down 30pc year to date.”
New car registrations for July fell 14.1pc (to 21,213) compared with July 2019 (24,681). Registrations year-to-date have plunged 29.8pc (to 74,069).
Secondhand imports dipped 6.8pc in July but have dived 49.6pc to 31,531 for the first seven months overall.
Electric vehicle sales are much the same (1pc down to 2,660) as for the corresponding January-to-July of 2019 while those for last month were up 5.18pc.
Meanwhile, the Top 5 selling brands this year are: 1. Volkswagen 2. Toyota 3. Hyundai 4. Skoda 5. Ford.
The Top 5 selling individual models are: The Toyota Corolla 2. Hyundai Tucson 3. Volkswagen Tiguan 4. Ford Focus 5. Hyundai Kona.
Diesel (43.63pc) accounted for most sales with petrol on 37.52pc, petrol/hybrid at 12.31pc, electric 3.59pc and plug-in hybrids on 2.58pc.