New car sales down 7.6% last month
Volkswagen is the best selling brand in Ireland this year.
New car sales fell by 7.6 per cent in February, with 10,619 registrations last month.
It brings the total so far this year to 27,854, down 15 per cent on the first two months of 2012.
According to figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (Simi), Volkswagen is the best selling brand this year with a 12 per cent market share, ahead of Toyota with 10.6 per cent, Ford with 10 per cent and Hyundai with 8.2 per cent.
Brian Cooke, deputy director general of SIMI, noted the fall in February was significantly less than it had been in January. “We weren't expecting any significant boost from the new number plate system in year one, but at least people now understand that the new system will be continued in future years and the misconception that it was for this year only has dissipated.”
Once more, the market was revived by a dramatic surge in new car registrations on the last day of the month. Nearly a quarter of all the new cars registrations in February - 2,559 new cars - took place yesterday.
Without these extra registrations, the monthly figures would have been dramatically lower.
Of the sales last month, 30 per cent of all new VW Golfs and 40 per cent of all new Ford Focus cars were registered on the last day.
Cars are sometimes registered on the last day of the month in order to meet sales targets despite not actually being sold to a customer.
New registrations have been particularly badly hit in the midlands and border counties. Leitrim, Offaly, Monaghan and Roscommon have all recorded falls of over 30 per cent in the number of new cars registered. Dublin registrations are down by 8.6 per cent.
The best-selling car is the Nissan Qashqai with 1,335 registrations, slightly ahead of the new Volkswagen Golf with 1,320.
Diesel remains the preferred engine option for buyers, powering 73.8 per cent of the new cars sold. Of the rest petrol makes up 25.2 per cent of sales, while alternative options such as hybrids and electric models remain less than one per cent of total sales.
Despite the publicity and the significant investment in recharging infrastructure, just 11 electric cars have been sold so far this year.