Slow start to year as car sales drop

Simon Brouder

Motor dealers in Kerry have had a slow start to the year with figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry showing the sale of new cars has fallen significantly compared with last year.

According to SIMI statistics for January, the number of new cars sold in Kerry fell by almost eight per cent when compared with January 2017.

The fall was far sharper than the average drop of just under five per cent recorded nationally.

In all, 859 new cars were sold in Kerry last month, a drop of 73 on the same period a year ago.

Nationally HGV sales were also down in January, falling by almost 12 per cent

While new car and HGV sales were down, the news wasn't all bad for motor dealers as the sales of light commercial vehicles were up, increasing by around six per cent on average.

Economist Jim Power says that Brexit and the associated weakness of Sterling could be a factor.

"In normal circumstances, the positive economic backdrop would be expected to deliver growth of up to 10 per cent in the new car market in 2018. However, the distortionary impact of sterling weakness and the associated surge in used imports from the UK will in all likelihood more than offset the positive economics," he said.

"For 2018, the used import market is projected to grow by 20 per cent to reach 114,950. New car registrations in 2018 are forecast at 118,220, which would represent a decline of 10 per cent on the 2017 out turn," he said.

The fall in new car sales also comes at a time when the average price of a new car has fallen by around two per cent year on year.