Despite challenges in the new car market, the Toyota Corolla remains Ireland's bestselling car

Coronavirus Hits New Car Sales In Ireland In March

Despite challenges in the new car market, the Toyota Corolla remains Ireland's bestselling car
Despite challenges in the new car market, the Toyota Corolla remains Ireland's bestselling car

Coronavirus is already making itself known in the Irish motor industry. According to figures released today by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), new car registrations for March were down a significant 63% when compared to March 2019. Just 6,174 new cars were registered versus 16,687 for this time last year.

It's a trend that will no doubt be seen across Europe as car production and the retail network is put on hold in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. In Ireland, restrictions have been in place since 27th of March that have seen all non-essential businesses close. These include dealer showrooms and service departments except for emergencies and for the service and maintenance of vehicles for frontline health and security workers. We've already examined how Coronavirus is affecting the motor industry in this article.

Registrations year to date are also down 20.5% (51,015) on the same period last year (64,126). However in a shrinking market, sales of electric vehicles did show some growth, up nearly 22% on March 2019.

The top five bestselling brands so far this year are 1. Toyota, buoyed by sales of the award-winning Corolla, 2. Volkswagen 3. Hyundai, 4. Skoda and 5. Ford.  The top five betselling cars year to date are 1.Toyota Corolla, 2. Hyundai Tucson, 3.Volkswagen Tiguan, 4. Ford Focus and 5. Skoda Octavia. The bestselling car in March was the Toyota Corolla.

Light Commercials vehicles (LCV) are down 52.9% (1,434) compared to March last year (3,044) and year to date are down 15.2% (9,378). HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) registrations are up 17.67% (313) in comparison to March 2019 (266). Year to date HGV's are up 12.59% (993).

Used car imports for March (4,656) have seen a decrease of 48.1% on March 2019 (8,970). Year to date imports are down 34.9% (17,471) on 2019 (26,832).

Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General, said:

The health of our nation is the overriding priority. The Motor Industry will assist the State in any way we can during this pandemic. While showrooms, service and other activities within the Industry are closed, members are available to assist in emergency call-out or delivery services. This will be vital in keeping essential and emergency services moving.

The Motor Industry and its employees, like so many Industries, is feeling the devastating impact of COVID-19. Even before the crisis commenced, the new car market was in decline, and this fall has accelerated rapidly in the last fortnight with new car activity down nearly two-thirds on last year. Whatever the duration of this crisis, once we emerge, we will need to see decisive and ambitious action from Government to protect the nearly 50,000 jobs in our sector.”

While dealer showrooms are closed for obvious reasons, many dealers are still available to answer sales enquiries by phone and by email. This is still a good time to research your new car. Changing Lanes holds a vast amount of information on new cars and the car buying process, from useful articles on how to finance a new car, to definitive car reviews of all the latest models. If you have a question please get in touch using our Contact form.

Fuel retailers in Ireland are calling for a reduction in rates as business drops by 70%

Fuel Retailers Stay Open But Call For Rate Relief

Fuel retailers in Ireland are calling for a reduction in rates as business drops by 70%
Fuel retailers in Ireland are calling for a reduction in rates as business drops by 70%

COVID-19 Crisis Affecting Irish Fuel Retailers

The Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) is calling on the Government to extend rate relief to fuel retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic that has changed the way we live and work in Ireland. With many restrictions in place to limit the movement of people, fuel retailers are deemed essential services and are staying open.

However, fuel retailers are reporting 70% drop in business in light of the current public health crisis.

The IPRA, the trade body representing fuel retailers in Ireland, has now written to Ministers John Paul Phelan and Eoghan Murphy. They have asked for forecourts to be included in any Council plan for rate relief.

David Blevings, spokesperson for the IPRA, said:

“Retail sites have been designated an essential service in the recent list of essential service providers published by Government. While our members are happy to serve the emergency services, HGV drivers, defence forces and essential county council workers, their turnover has reduced by c.70%. This is due to the obvious reduction in traffic volumes as people stay at home and consumers’ switch to buying only essential items."

Supporting Rural Economies

There are around 1,000 retail forecourt locations in the Republic of Ireland and according to the IPRA, 80% are owned and operated by sole traders and family businesses.

"Local forecourts will be the only shop in many Irish villages open for many customers, and while our Members are pleased to remain open, they cannot be expected to pay rates at a time when their income has been drastically reduced.

Without rate relief at this critical time, many of these businesses will not survive and this will lead to closures. Any closures during this crisis will reduce fuel supply availability to front line workers and services and cripple rural Ireland. We have asked the Ministers to swiftly introduce a local authority rates relief package and to ensure the Irish forecourt sector is included in any
plan to protect jobs and family businesses in rural Ireland," added David.

For more information, visit the Irish Petrol Retailers website.

The Renault Clio is Europe's most popular car!

Renault Clio Moves To Pole Position In Europe!

The Renault Clio is Europe's most popular car!
The Renault Clio is Europe's most popular car!

Clio is King of Europe!

The new Renault Clio is Europe's bestselling new car, according to figures released by Jato Dynamics.

The European new car market continued to decline throughout February 2020 but the small French hatchback racked up 24,914 new registrations.

The new Renault Clio was launched in 2019 and is selling well in Ireland, with 1,125 units up to the end of February making it one of Ireland's top 10 bestselling new cars.

The Clio has pushed the Volkswagen Golf into second place in Europe, while the new Peugeot 208 is now the third bestselling model.

European new car sales in decline

Overall 1,063,264 cars were registered in Europe in February, down 7% on February 2019. The data does not show yet the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the European automotive market.

Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented:

“The situation is rapidly deteriorating in Europe due to complex regulation, lack of available homologated cars, and increasing pressure on the economy. All of these factors are having a detrimental impact on consumer confidence.”

There was growth in registrations of electric vehicles, which jumped from 75,400 units in February 2019 to 135,500 units last month. The increase of over 80% came at the expense of diesel and petrol cars who saw significantly fewer registrations.

The volume of EVs more than doubled in Germany and France – their biggest markets. In terms of market share, EVs represented 75% of all passenger cars registrations in Norway, 33% in Sweden, 31% in Finland, 22% in Netherlands and 17% in Hungary. France leads among the big 5 markets, with an EV penetration of 14%, against 13% in the UK, 11% in Germany, 10% in Spain, and 8.6% in Italy.

Any trends in new car sales?

Registrations for SUVs fell by 1.7% to 415,300 units, taking the year-to-date total to 865,500 units, down by 1.4% from last year. The fall in registrations was due to the compact SUVs, declining by 3.7% in contrast to the strong growth experienced by large SUVs, who saw an increase of 17%. Although there was a decrease in SUV registrations, their market share did in fact increase due to the overall downturn of the market.

Midsize cars posted the highest growth among all segment, thanks to the BMW 3-Series, boosted by a new generation model, and the Volkswagen Passat. Their combined registrations made up 31% of the whole midsize segment volume.

Vans also saw an increased in registrations, coming very close to beating the market share of MPVs, who experienced a decrease of 27%.

Big improvers for the month included the Fiat 500, BMW 3-Series, Volkswagen Passat, Hyundai Kona, BMW 1-Series, Audi A4, Volvo XC40 and Citroen C5 Aircross. Among the latest new car launches, the Toyota Corolla registered 13,600 units, 11,600 for the Volkswagen T-Cross, 7,500 units of the Ford Puma, 6,700 units for Skoda Kamiq, 5,100 units for Skoda Scala, and 4,600 units of the Mazda CX-30.

Finally, the Audi Q3 Sportback registered 3,900 units, Kia XCeed 3,700 units, and both the Audi E-Tron and DS 3 Crossback registered 2,300 units each.

Europcar Ireland is supporting frontline HSE and Emergency Services staff with private car rental initiative

Europcar Ireland Launches TOGETHER Initiative

Europcar Ireland is supporting frontline HSE and Emergency Services staff with private car rental initiative
Europcar Ireland is supporting frontline HSE and Emergency Services staff with private car rental initiative

Europcar has announced a new vehicle rental initiative to support frontline HSE and Emergency Services staff as they work through the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The company is offering private rental vehicles for the duration of the crisis from a discounted rate of €35 per week. Their aim is to facilitate social distancing and provide convenient and safe transport to/from work for vital frontline workers. The TOGETHER programme is in operation across Europcar Mobility Group’s global network spanning 135 countries to relieve some of the pressures on overstretched services and essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Europcar Ireland’s existing range of services, including vehicle rental and GoCar car sharing, remain in full operation across the country, and the company is committed to providing members of the public with convenient and safe transport options as usual during these unprecedented times.

Commenting on the announcement, Colm Brady, MD of Europcar Mobility Group Ireland, said:

“During such unprecedented times, it is crucial that businesses and communities continue to support one another and create a united front in the face of this crisis. Frontline HSE and Emergency Services staff across the country are working tirelessly to tackle the unfolding COVID-19 situation and for this we are truly grateful. We hope that this dedicated transport service will be of some benefit to those workers who are helping all of us during this very difficult period.”

To avail of this initiative, frontline workers must provide ID and a valid driving licence. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Further information about the new rental initiative and registrations can be made via

Doireann Garrihy, broadcaster and Renault brand ambassador, and the new Renault ZOE

New 2020 Renault ZOE arrives in Ireland!

Doireann Garrihy, broadcaster and Renault brand ambassador, and the new Renault ZOE
Doireann Garrihy, broadcaster and Renault brand ambassador, and the new Renault ZOE

The 100% electric, new Renault ZOE Z.E. 50 has arrived in Irish dealerships, priced from €26,990 including SEAI grant.

The new ZOE goes on sale with a 52 kWh battery offering an extended range of 395 km and greater performance from a new R135 (135 hp) motor, alongside the current R110 (108 hp) motor. There's also a completely redesigned interior, a fresh new exterior look and the most flexible charging on the market.

Renault Ireland says that new ZOE is the most affordable electric car in Ireland with 395 km range – saving customers €9,000 versus other long-range electric cars. ZOE has been the best-selling electric car in Europe since its launch.

Customers can now take exclusive test drives at Renault’s network of 27 dealerships around Ireland, giving customers the chance to get into new ZOE and experience it for themselves.

There are three trim levels available, starting with entry-level Play, Iconic and GT Line. A customisable 10-inch TFT instrument cluster comes as standard with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, as well as full LED headlamps.

New ZOE can also avail of fast 50 kW Direct Current (DC) charging for the first time - 50 kW fast charging can add around 145 km of range in as little as half an hour. ZOE remains the only car with standard 22 kWh AC charging capability through the Chameleon Charger™ meaning the ZOE can get the best out of whatever charging point is available.

Renault are rewarding customers for choosing a cleaner, lower emissions car with Renault Carbon Rewards on new Renault ZOE. Customers are guaranteed savings of €3,500 on new ZOE with €1,000 Carbon Cashback and 2.01% APR (saving customers €2,500 on interest payments compared to high street banks). This offer is available until 31st March 2020.

The new ZOE is the latest in a line of new Renaults that saw the arrival of the new Renault Clio and Captur earlier in 2020. A facelifted Renault Mégane is due in the summer along with new plug-in hybrid versions of the Clio, Captur and Mégane.

Clare Jones CCO What3words, speaking at Electronomous 2019

Electronomous 2020 Car Tech And Mobility Summit

Clare Jones CCO What3words, speaking at Electronomous 2019
Clare Jones, CCO What3words, speaking at Electronomous 2019

International high profile start-ups and mobility companies will showcase their latest technological advancements at Electronomous 2020, which takes place between May 21-22 at Weston Airport in Dublin.

The summit sees speakers such as Dell Technologies, Group Renault, BMW Group, Roborace and The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, discuss advancements in automotive AI, autonomy, and electrification in the car and mobility sectors.

Visitors to the conference will be the first to learn the about the latest technologies and trends within this new era of mobility. Delegates will meet mobility disruptors and automotive giants from the tech world and learn how collaboration within all these
spaces will drive a pathway for connected cars, autonomous vehicles and alternative powered trains and micro-mobility with the smart city.

Keith Whelan, Event Director at Electronomous, said:

“The growing eco-system of companies forging a pathway within the tech, automotive and mobility space in Ireland might be surprising to some but there are many Irish companies doing business with some of the world’s biggest OEM’s and mobility shapeshifters. To have many of these International companies attending, speaking and exhibiting at the event presents a real opportunity to gain some facetime in order to talk about their company or showcase their technology.”

Sara Hill, SVP Advanced Technologies at Enterprise Ireland – San Francisco, said:

“Enterprise Ireland is excited to support this event, which showcases the future of mobility and innovations from globally-leading companies. Ireland is in a unique position to excel in the connected and autonomous vehicle sector, through a diverse cluster of companies, universities and research centres offering technical, industrial and engineering expertise and solutions. In 2019, we had more than 20 Irish companies in attendance at the conference and welcomed international delegates and
industry experts from Silicon Valley, Germany and Dubai.”

The two-day event is well established among global organisations and speakers, with previous sessions led by Hollywood actor and racing driver Michael Fassbender. Meanwhile, The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Dell
Technologies, Deloitte, Groupe Renault, BMW Group, Lime Micromobility, Tecnalia Electric Aircraft Lab and Autonomous race series Roborace are among those already confirmed to attend the summit this year.

Bryn Balcombe, Chief Strategy Officer at Roborace and founder of the Autonomous Drivers Alliance (ADA), said:

“Electronomous is bringing together companies at the cutting edge of mobility technology and Roborace, the World's first autonomous racing competition, is looking forward to be a part of that conversation.”

For 2020, MobilityX returns as a key partner, bringing with them a whole host of delegates and speakers from Silicon Valley to join Electronomous on the main stage.

In addition, there will be networking sessions and tech talks by founders and CEOs.

The Roborace robocar
The Roborace robocar

The new Skoda Superb iV!

ŠKODA Superb iV Plug-In Hybrid Arrives In Ireland!


The new Skoda Superb iV!
The new ŠKODA Superb iV!

ŠKODA Ireland has announced the arrival of the new ŠKODA Superb iV in Ireland. The new Superb iV plug-in hybrid will go on sale from €40,350 (excluding delivery charges and inclusive of government grants for plug-in hybrids).

The Superb was revamped back in late 2019 and the new iV gets the same updates to styling, interior and equipment as the rest of the range.

This is the first time hybrid technology has been used in the Superb. The iV uses a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine and an electric motor with a combined power of 218 hp. It is capable of travelling up to 62 km on pure electric power as confirmed in the WLTP test cycle. It is now the quickest car in the Superb range with 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time of just 7.7 seconds. CO2 emissions are just 33-35 g/km. Annual road tax is €170 for the new Superb iV.

In addition to Sport mode, drivers can also select E-mode and Hybrid mode. In E-mode, the Superb iV is powered entirely by the electric motor. For safety, an E-noise sound generator creates a unique sound to alert pedestrians and cyclists.

The new Superb can travel up to 62 km on electric power only
The new Superb iV can travel up to 62 km on electric power only

In Hybrid mode, both power units work together, and their interplay is controlled electronically.

The Superb iV can be charged in about 3 hours with a 3.6 kW wall box. It takes about 5 hours using a standard household three pin plug socket. While moving, the Superb iV can also charge its battery or maintain the battery level using regenerative braking and also power from the petrol engine.

The SUPERB iV is offered as a Liftback (saloon) or Combi (estate). It's available in four trim levels - Ambition, Style, SportLine and L&K. Compared to the standard Superb, the iV has Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), as well as the most modern MIB infotainment systems coupled to digital dashboard displays.

Sales of hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles have doubled in Ireland in the past two years to a total of 11,540 such vehicles registered in 2019. ŠKODA Ireland has advised customers to place their orders early to avoid disappointment, as availability will be limited to 250 units in 2020.

The ŠKODA Superb plug-in hybrid goes on sake from €40,350
The ŠKODA Superb plug-in hybrid goes on sake from €40,350

Commenting, John Donegan, Brand Director, ŠKODA Ireland, said:

“ŠKODA’s electric journey starts today with the Superb iV. The Superb iV offers the best of both worlds. The ability to plug-in and charge at home or work, means commuters in Naas, Drogheda, Navan or Greystones travelling to Dublin daily have the potential to commute, powered entirely by electricity. Plug-in hybrid vehicles offer significant advantages over so-called “self-charging hybrids” including significantly lower CO2 emissions and superior fuel economy.”

  Ambition Style Sportline L&K
Liftback €40,350 €43,850 €45,850 €48,350
Combi €41, 850 €45,350 €47,350 €49,850


Ireland partnered with Portugal and Romania in new EU road safety initiative

Ireland Partners With Portugal & Romania On Road Safety

Ireland partnered with Portugal and Romania in new EU road safety initiative
Ireland partnered with Portugal and Romania in new EU road safety initiative

Ireland has been twinned with Portugal and Romania as part of a new EU road safety project.

The EU Road Safety Exchange Project 2019-2021 aims to reduce the overall number of road deaths and serious injuries on European roads.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is hosting its first meeting with the Portuguese delegation in Dublin to share what they have learnt about successful policy development.

In a two-day visit, the RSA, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, An Garda Síochána, Medical Bureau of Road Safety and the DPP, will outline the Irish experience of tackling drink driving and speeding with delegates from Portugal as they continue to refine policy approaches to improve their road safety performance. The Portuguese delegation is accompanied by Mr. Matthew Baldwin, European Coordinator Road Safety and Deputy Director General and DG MOVE.

Moyagh Murdock, RSA Chief Executive, said:

“Ireland is recognised as an example of best practice in road safety. We were the second safest European Union Member State in 2018 and globally Ireland is ranked fourth safest country in the world. Evidence-based policies are key to saving lives on our roads and Ireland has a long-standing appreciation for the value of learning from international best practice in refining our approach to policy design and development.

Equally, we feel that Ireland has a role to play in helping other countries, who have a poorer road safety record, to reduce deaths and injuries on their roads. The EU Road Safety Exchange project will provide valuable support to EU member states to improve road safety performance over a three-year period. We are pleased to take part in this important initiative and welcome the Portuguese delegation to Ireland to share our approach in relation to drink driving and speed enforcement.”

The Dublin meeting marks the first in a series of events under the EU Road Safety Exchange to support road safety partnerships between EU member states. The three-year EU Road Safety Exchange project aims to tackle road fatalities by bringing together collective best practice between EU nations. Transport experts from 12 EU member states will come together to share policies and strategies for reducing speed, building safe infrastructure, and improving the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

The Exchange will focus on the EU member states with the highest potential for achieving improvements in road safety. Ireland is to partner with Portugal on the sharing of best practice related to drink and drug driving, and with Romania in the area of road safety enforcement.

The project is being managed by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), a leading NGO on transport safety that works with road safety experts from across the EU.

In 2018, there were over 25,000 fatalities on European roads. While this is a decrease of 21% compared to 2010, it represents only a 1% decrease compared to 2017.

The Volkswagen Tiguan was Ireland's bestselling car in February 2020

February 2020 New Car Registrations Ireland

The Volkswagen Tiguan was Ireland's bestselling car in February 2020
The Volkswagen Tiguan was Ireland's bestselling car in February 2020

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has released their official new vehicle statistics showing that new car registrations for February 2020 were down 7.7% (13,915) when compared to February 2019 (15,069).

Registrations year to date are also down 4.9% (45,096) on the same period last year (47,439).

The top 10 bestselling car brands so far in 2020 are:

1. Toyota
2. Volkswagen
3. Hyundai
4. Skoda
5. Nissan
6. Ford
7. Renault
8. Kia
9. Peugeot
10. Seat

The top 5 bestselling car models are:

1. Toyota Corolla
2. Hyundai Tucson
3. Volkswagen Tiguan
4. Ford Focus
5. Nissan Qashqai

The bestselling car in Ireland in February 2020 was the Volkswagen Tiguan.

Diesel accounted for 43.82% of new car registrations, with petrol at 39.12%, hybrid at 12.19%, electric at 2.87% and plug-in hybrid at 1.75%.

Used car imports for February (6,196) have seen a decrease of 30.1% on February 2019 (8,859). Year to date imports are down 28.2% (12,818) on 2019 (17,862).

For the month of February 401 new electric vehicles were registered compared to 325 on the same month last year +23.38%. While so far this year 1,294 new electric cars were registered in comparison to 1,124 on the same period last year an increase of 15.12%.

Light Commercials vehicles (LCV) are down 6.9% (2,294) compared to February last year (2,465) and year to date are down 0.8% (7,946). HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) registrations are up 14.5% (300) in comparison to February 2019 (262). Year to date HGV's are up 11.04% (684).

Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General, said:

New car sales continue to disappoint with February’s registrations showing further deterioration since January. Political and economic uncertainty is depressing consumer confidence and we now have the added problem of the Coronavirus, which may disrupt new hire drive registrations for the tourist season in March and April. The introduction of the new NOx charge in January has led to a fall in the demand for older used imports, with a fall of over 40% in used imports over 5 years old. New electric car registrations are up 15% (1,294) year to date yet, but further analysis of this number reveals that while private consumer purchases of EVs, which still attract the SEAI grant, are up over 30%, there has been a reduction in company electric car purchases where this support no longer applies."

The new Peugeot 208 is Car of the Year 2020!

Peugeot 208 Is Car Of The Year 2020!

The new Peugeot 208 is Car of the Year 2020!
The new Peugeot 208 is Car of the Year 2020!

The new Peugeot 208 has been crowned the Car of the Year 2020 by a panel of judges made up of 60 European automotive journalists. It is the third time Peugeot has won the award since 2014 and it is the first Peugeot “2 series” to be awarded the prestigious prize.

The small Peugeot, which offers a full-electric version, collected 281 points and 17 individual top votes. With 242 points and the same number of best votes, the electric car Tesla Model 3 was second, while the last place in the podium was also for an EV, the Porsche Taycan, with 222 points. The rest of the finalists for the award were the Renault Clio (211 points), Ford Puma (209), Toyota Corolla (152) and BMW 1-Series (133).

The jury liked the new 208's bold design and technology features, together with the “power of choice” customer offer; customers choose their preferred trim, then the powertrain, whether petrol, diesel or electric.

Jean-Philippe IMPARATO, Peugeot Brand CEO, said:

“I am particularly proud that the new Peugeot 208 has just won the Car of the Year 2020 prize. This trophy underlines the excellence of the work and great commitment of all the teams of the Brand and the Groupe PSA. It’s the first time that a Peugeot “2 series” has triumphed! Indeed, three Peugeot “Cars of the Year” are currently on the road; the 3008, the 308, and now the new 208. The COTY 2020 legitimates the Brand’s “power of choice” strategy. From now on, our customers will be able to choose between the electric Peugeot e-208 “Car of the Year” and the (ICE) Peugeot 208 “Car of the Year”!

Peugeot now takes its place amongst the top 3 brands with the most awards in the Car of the Year history, with six trophies. The new 208 follows the 3008 in 2017, the 308 in 2014, the 307 in 2002, the 405 in 1988 and the 504 in 1969.

The panel of judges comprises 60 automotive expert journalists from 23 European countries. Founded in 1964, the award is the longest-running and most renowned European prize. The winner is announced every year at the Geneva International Motor Show. Last year's winner was the Jaguar I-PACE.

The new Peugeot 208 is available to order now at dealerships nationwide.

Car of the Year 2020