Imports Overtake New Buys in Irish Car Market

Fewer motorists are licensing new vehicles this year, with Irish road users turning increasingly towards the second-hand and import market in 2018, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office.

A total of 5,086 new vehicles were licensed in October, a decrease of 4.8 percent from October 2017. Altogether, 2,874 new private cars were licensed last month compared to 3,255 in October 2017, a decrease of 11.7 percent. However, there were more new goods vehicles licensed this October, with a 10.4 percent increase from 1,466 last year to 1,619 in 2018. The licensing of both new tractors and motorcycles has increased from October of this year to last, up 14 and 28 percent respectively. Vehicles in Ireland are licensed when a valid motor tax disc is issued for the first time.

Figures for January to October of 2017 and 2018 show an overall decrease in the total number of new vehicles licensed in the country this year – down 2.7 percent from 157,285 to 153,001, a decrease of over 4,000 vehicles. Overall from January to October the licensing of new cars is down 4.9 percent this year to last, while an additional 1,327 new goods vehicles licensed in 2018 brought an increase of 5.9 percent on corresponding figures for 2017.

While less new cars are being licensed this year, 2018 has seen an increase in the number of licensed used private cars, the majority of which are imported from abroad. From January to October of this year 84,502 used private cars were licensed, an increase of 8.7 percent on the 77,734 licensed in 2017.

Figures for the licensing of used goods vehicles have also risen in 2018 – up 6.2 percent on 11,781 to 12,509. In total from January to October this year 106,874 used vehicles were licensed compared to 99,285 in 2017, showing an increase of 7.6 percent with the licensing of an additional 7,589 used vehicles.

Of the 118,732 new private cars licensed from January to October of 2018, the majority were diesel engines, followed by petrol engines and electric cars, while just one single diesel & electric hybrid was licensed.

The CSO defines a private car as a privately licensed vehicle, including hire, fleet vehicles and some commercial vehicles.  ‘New vehicles’ refers to vehicles which are licensed for use in a public place, in this country, for the first time, while ‘used vehicles’ refers to vehicles which are licensed for use in a public place, in this country, for the first time, mainly imports. In the first ten months of 2018, 1.3 percent of imported private cars licensed were less than one year old, while 4,045 (4.8 percent) were ten years or older.

Certain vehicles fall under an ‘exempt’ status, meaning that these vehicles are licensed for the first time in this country but are exempt from paying road tax. Exempt vehicles are divided into four categories – state-owned, diplomatic, fire services and disabled drivers.

A total of 203,234 new and used private cars were licensed for the first time in 2018 – with Volkswagen proving the most popular manufacturer. Overall, 23,873 new Volkswagens were licensed between January and October of this year, followed by 20,519 Fords and 17,089 Toyotas. Over 500 less BMWs have been licensed this year compared to last, while Hyundai has also seen a decrease in popularity of 13 percent on 2017 figures. At the other end of the scale, 257 Subarus were licensed, while 86 licenses being issued saw Ssangyong bringing up the rear as the manufacturer with the least number of vehicles licensed.



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