Total new car registrations for the month of March were down 10.5% to 17,796 from 19,890 in March 2017, according to figures released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI). New cars registrations year to date remain 5.5% down on the same period last year (71,842 vs 75,982).

New Light Commercial Vehicle registrations (LCV) were up 2% (3,147) on March 2017 (3,084) and year to date are up 5.4% (12,537).

New Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HGV) have declined 11.2% for the month of March (271) compared to the same month last year (305) and are down 11.2% (916) year to date.

Imported Used Cars have shown a slight decrease of 4.6% for March 2018 (8,154) when compared to March 2017 (8,545) however year to date they are 9.5% (26,116) ahead of 2017 (23,862)

Commenting on the figures SIMI Director General, Alan Nolan said: “March has been a challenging trading month for our Industry with snow days and two public holidays leading to shorter trading weeks, but we also had the Hire-drive deliveries at similar levels to last year to bolster registrations. Brexit however remains the dominant issue with Used Car Imports up 9.5% for the First Quarter while New Car Registrations are down by 5.5% over the same period. For the month of March New Car Registrations (-10.5%) and Used Car Imports (-4.6%) are both down, although it should be noted that the number of business days were reduced this year due to the Storm Emma and the Easter Holiday period, which was in April last year. Overall registrations for the First Quarter remain in line with projections based on the continuing impact of Brexit and the increasing volume of imported used cars. The light commercial vehicle sector by contrast has seen a continued increase reflecting the strong economic growth for businesses at present.

Continuing the trend highlighted in January the Diesel market share has reduced from 67% last year to 56% in 2018. This will have implications for our CO2 Targets, as the Average CO2 emissions from a New Car (113.2 Gms/Km) in Q1 this year has increased by 1.5 Gms/Km (from 111.7 Gms/Km in Q1 2017). This would produce a calculated increase of around 2,000 Tons in Annual CO2 for the new cars registered so far this year. The Increasing volume of imported used cars in Q1 had average CO2 emissions of 121.1 Gms/Km.”   

The top five bestselling car brand in Ireland so far in 2018 are:

1. Volkswagen

2. Toyota

3. Hyundai

4. Ford

5. Nissan

The top five bestselling car models in Ireland so far in 2018 are:

1. Nissan Qashqai

2. Hyundai Tucson

3. Volkswagen Golf

4. Ford Focus

5. Skoda Octavia

The Nissan Qashqai has outsold the Hyundai Tucson to become Ireland’s bestselling car again and it was also the bestselling car for the month of March.

Mercedes-Benz is the bestselling premium brand in Ireland with a narrow margin over Audi, while the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is Ireland’s bestselling premium car so far in 2018.