Time running out for scrappage deals
Motorists whose current cars will not be 10 years old until next month should still make their plans now if they want to get the full benefit of the scrappage scheme, it was claimed last night.
There are just 58 days to go until the deal comes to an end and there is a growing possibility that leaving it late may mean having to take what you get.
While it is inevitable that there will be seriously good deals on offer right up to the end -- there are some decent ones now -- the big danger for buyers is that they may find it difficult to get exactly what they want as time runs out.
For example, they might have to settle for a different colour or equipment level because there will be a relatively limited number of cars and options in the system. Cars have to be ordered a fair bit in advance.
The alert comes from Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) chief Alan Nolan. He told the Irish Independent last night: "People have to decide firstly what they want and then have to buy, scrap and get registered and all that has to be done by the end of June. After a while now there will be limited numbers of options. Waiting another two or three weeks means people will be left with what's in the system."
The critical point is that so long as the current cars are or will be 10 years old by end of June there is nothing to stop their owners putting the deal in place now. It may be that they decide to buy a used car or wait until next year. But leaving it until the last minute is tempting fate.
The alert was raised in the wake of new sales figures for April which show a modest increase on the corresponding month for last year. The encouraging thing is that there were three "short" trading weeks in the month this year as Easter and May Day came so close.
Sales for the year to date are also up, according to the latest official figures from SIMI: from 50,561 for the first four months of last year to 56,676 for the same period in 2011.
Perhaps the commercial vehicles area is less glamorous than new cars, but vans and trucks are often a far more accurate barometer of what is really going on in the economy. And for the first time in about three years, heavy and light commercials are showing an increase in sales -- as well as cars.
Mr Nolan said: "It is a tentative sign that maybe the economy is slowly turning a corner. There are a big number of little-used commercial vehicles on the market and that would have impacted on new sales.
"So seeing the new sales pick up -- albeit in tiny numbers and you wouldn't want to get carried away with it -- is a positive result."
It is the first time since 2008 that heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) have increased.
But Mr Nolan cautioned: "These are not big numbers so statistics like this have to be viewed in context.
"That said, commercial vehicles are very often seen as a true barometer of economic activity and although we will need to watch future developments very carefully before drawing firm conclusions, this result has to be seen as a very welcome indicator."