HYUNDAI’s Tucson SUV is the best selling car in the country as new figures show sales overall fell last month while UK imports soared due to sterling’s weakness against the euro.
Latest official Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) figures reveal that new-car registrations dipped by 1.7pc to 39,019 compared with January last year. Imports, however, are up by around 60pc.
The number of commercials registered, regarded as a truer indication of economic activity, were down by 2.4pc to 6,394.
The top-selling passenger cars so far are the Hyundai Tucson, Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Golf.
The top-selling makes are Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen and Nissan – but it is early days yet.
A second report out today, commissioned by the SIMI and compiled by economist Jim Power, says the impact of used imports on the Irish market is likely to continue for some time.
After a 51pc increase last year, it already looks like last year’s 72,182 total will be significantly outstripped in 2017.
Of the cars brought in last year, Mr Power’s quarterly review of the motor industry, says nearly half were between three and five years old.
“The outlook for car sales is uncertain,” he says. He continues: “Used imports from the UK and the impact of Brexit on confidence are threats to new-car sales this year and beyond. It looks likely that there could be a decline of around 3pc in new car sales in 2017 – to around 142,000.”
A further contributory factor to lower sales is that demand is lower after a period of strong ‘catch-up’ post recession.
Mr Power emphasised, however, that GDP is projected to grow by 3.3pc, employment is expected to increase, as are personal disposable incomes while interest rates will remain low.
Among other key findings of his Quarterly Review are:
*The Exchequer collected €1.5bn in VRT and VAT on new and used car sales in 2016 – up 26.8pc.
*The average tax take from a new car was €8,759 and €3,097 for a used import.
*Last year, local authorities collected €847m in motor tax.
In the first 11 months of last year, €3.1bn was collected in taxes and levies on motor fuel.
*The average price of a new car was 5.5pc lower last year. Between 2010 and 2016, the average price has declined by 16.9pc.
*Average motor insurance costs in 2016 were 61.5pc higher than in 2013.
*Roscommon had the strongest annual growth rate (30.5pc); Leitrim was lowest (11.82pc) last year. Dublin accounted for 39.73pc of the market.
*Average emissions in 2016 were 2.5pc lower than a year earlier, and have declined by 30.5pc since 2008.