Number of new cars bought this year down 26 percent

The Central Statistics Office (CSO)  have recently released the number of vehicles that have been registered for the first time this year. Erin Killoran explores the actual effects of these statistics.

Copyright free photo taken by user JCT 600 on Flickr.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO)  have recently released the number of vehicles that have been registered for the first time this year. These figures show 81,809 new private cars were purchased by the Irish public. This demonstrates a large decline of 26.2% in comparison to this time last year, where 110,900 new private cars were licensed for the first time. The number of imported private cars also declined by 32.2% when compared with 2019.

However, there was a stark increase during the month of October of this year. The graph bellow shows sales were up 30.3% in comparison to last year as 975 more cars were registered in October 2020 than October 2019.  

Figure 1 Private cars licensed for the first time, October 2016 - 2020

The CSO also reported the most popular car brands for newly registered cars during the month of October 2020. Volkswagen was the most popular with 574 newly registered cars sold, followed by Ford 382, Skoda 350, Toyota 291 and Peugeot 247.

Covid-19 has affected many businesses and industries, which could potentially be the main catalyst for the decline in the purchasing of new cars this year.  Studies have shown that 14% of people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and a large number of people have been temporarily laid off. So perhaps, the financial insecurity that Covid-19 has provided has caused a significant decline in the number of new private cars that have been purchased. 

Speaking to Paul Egan, sales executive at Sheehy Motors, Naas county Kildare, he said: “ We have experienced a downturn in sales, but not by much. In fact, we still beat our target set out by the brand for 2020.”

With regards to any impact due to the pandemic, he said: “Covid did have an effect but the motor industry is also going through radical changes with technology. Customers are a bit confused about buying electric cars and the future of petrol and diesel cars.” 

The CSO figures show that there has been a growth of electric and hybrid cars this year. 1,644 more hybrid cars and 625 more new electric cars were purchased this year compared with last year. Additionally, 35,067, new diesel cars were purchased throughout the first 10 months of 2020, which shows almost a 33% decrease from last year. 

Egan spoke about his company’s plan for the final month of 2020. “Compared to last November, the pre-order intake for 2021 is approximately 15% behind. However, December orders should be stronger than last year because we are back open from December 1. Car sales are not considered essential retail so our showroom was closed during November. Any sales done until now were through email or phone.” Egan also stated that he believes that his company’s car sale figures are also representative of car dealerships nationwide. 

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