According to figures released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), new car registrations in Ireland were down 1.7% in January 2017 compared to the same time last year. The month ended 39,019 new 171 cars registered versus 39,722 in January 2016.

Light commercials registrations were down 2.4% (6,394) compared to January last year (6,555), while HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) registrations were down 6.3% (456) for January in comparison to the same time last year (487).

Commenting on the figures, economist Jim Power said, “Looking ahead to 2017, while the outlook for car sales is a bit more difficult to predict than last year, the projected growth in personal disposable incomes and the availability of credit provide solid support for car sales. However, the impact of Brexit and the increased volume in imported used cars are other issues that may impact on new car sales this year., Overall, though, numbers should be fairly close to last year with perhaps a slight decline of around 3% in new car sales in 2017, which would imply new car sales of around 142,000.”

Last year the Industry continued to generate strong returns for the Exchequer with a total VRT and VAT take of €1.5 billion (26.8% ahead of 2015) from new and used car sales alone.

Alan Greene SIMI President commented, “The Motor Industry continues to be a strong contributor to employment with 40,800 people employed throughout Ireland. Last year our Industry contributed €1.5 Billion to the Exchequer in car sales alone. 2017 was always going to be a more cautious year for businesses, right across the economy, but we have seen a steady start in January and hopefully we are on track for another good year and continuation of a stable market during the rest of the year”.

The top five selling car makes for January were Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, and Nissan.

The top five selling models for January were the Hyundai Tucson followed by the Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, Nissan Qashqai, and Volkswagen Golf.

Caroline Kidd