Tuesday 18 December 2018

Tough year for motor industry

Maria Herlihy

Last year was a very challenging year for the Motor Industry as new car registration for 2017 as anticipated was down 10% on the year previously.

Official statistics from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show that new car registrations for the year 2017 finished at 131,356 which is down 10% on the 2016 figures of 146,649. 

Although new Commercial Vehicle registrations showed an increase for both Light and Heavy Commercial Vehicles during the final month of the year, with very low volumes in December, this did not impact on the overall trend for the full year. New Light Commercial Vehicle registrations (LCV) at 24,195, recorded a fall of -14.2% for the year in 2017, while New Heavy Commercial Vehicle registrations (HGV) 2,602 saw a decrease of -9.4% over the 12 months compared to 2016 (2,873).

SIMI Director General, Alan Nolan said:  "2017 was a very challenging year for the Motor Industry, mainly due to the impact of Brexit on Euro/Sterling exchange rates." 

He said: " Without Brexit we would have anticipated a reasonable level of growth in the market but in the aftermath of the UK Brexit vote we had modified our projection to 132,000 and that prediction turned out to be very accurate with the car market finishing at 131,356. This number is still better than most recent years and produced reasonable volumes across all vehicle sales sectors."

Mr Nolan said as the new 181 sales period which is "hugely important" to their members who remain "optimistic for the coming year." 

He said the obvious value available in the Irish new car market has been apparent over the past 12 months with only 79 new cars imported in 2017, despite the low value of sterling. 

"While used imports have been increasing strongly new car imports have fallen by 25% in the last year and by almost 60% over the last three years," he said.