Friday 24 November 2017

Plates changeover unlikely to boost weak new car sales

SIMI director-general Alan Nolan
SIMI director-general Alan Nolan
The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s number one best-selling car

Campbell Spray Motoring Editor

There is unlikely to be much of a surge in new car buying when the new 132 plate is introduced on July 1. However, Society of Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) director-general Alan Nolan says the shift to two car registration periods each year is a "long-term project and when there are more normal times, you would expect a shift in buying behaviour".

Mr Nolan said that while June would be down on the same month last year, there would be a certain pick-up in July for the same plate. But with sales already running 15 per cent below last year, the trend was likely to continue until the year end.

"It is hard to have huge expectations," Mr Nolan said.

Total sales for the year are likely to be under 70,000. In better times Mr Nolan expects that the summer sales will pick up, especially when people can buy a car to take on their holidays. However, he says, "it is a challenge out there at the moment" with a lot of things impacting on sales, including the pay cut to civil and public servants.

Mr Nolan said that the motor industry was doing its best to encourage sales and that there were "some great offers out there" for both the roll-out period of the 131 plate and the start of the 132.

For example, promotions by two of the biggest importers were announced last Friday.

Ford tells me that to celebrate the arrival of the new 132 registration, it will provide 'registration packs' for its top-selling models with a value of up to €1,079 for just €132.

On the Fiesta Zetec model, these include SYNC (Ford's advanced in car communication and entertainment system) and air conditioning, while the Focus Edge pack comes with SYNC, 16-inch alloys, front fogs, premium centre console and floor mats. On the C-Max, the offer is of rear parking sensors and power fold mirrors.

Meanwhile, for Opel's 132 Summer Fest running from June 17-22, the marque is making 132 Opels available for 132 hours with a 'Triple 5' offer: all retail orders placed by June 22 will receive a free five-year warranty, a free five-year service plan plus a free 5,000 kilometre fuel voucher.

Next week, the Sunday Independent has a special motoring supplement for the new 132 plate

Motoring, page 31

Irish Independent

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