Licensed vehicle registrations rise
The number of licensed vehicles in the Republic increased in 2011 - but the statistics come with something of a health warning.
According to the annual Bulletin of Vehicle and Driver Statistics published today, the overall number of licensed vehicles– that is those which have paid road tax – rose by 8,769 to 2,425,156.
The number of licensed private cars increased from 1,872,715 to 1,887,810. There appeared to be good news too in the number of new vehicles coming onto the roads in 2011. At 105,761 the numbers were an increase of 2,685 or 2.6 per cent.
Importantly for main dealerships the number of imported vehicles decreased by 2,326 to 55,016.
However both the Society of the Irish Motor Industry and the Road Safety Authority have expressed concern over the age and condition of the State’s vehicle fleet.
The society said while the increase in numbers appeared to be a good thing, an analysis of the figures showed new car sales dropped dramatically in the second half of 2011 - coinciding with the ending of the the Government scrappage scheme. The numbers were down by almost 25 per cent from July to December, when compared with the same period in 2010.
In a further bad sign for the motor industry - and the economy – the number of licensed goods vehicles decreased overall in 2011 by 6,130 units, or 1.87 per cent.
The figures also reveal that as of December 31, 2011 , some 79 per cent of private cars were more than four years old. Some 60 per cent were six years old or more.
Some 82.3 per cent of goods vehicles were at least four years old while 57.7 per cent were six years old or more.
A spokeswoman for the Society of the Irish Motor Industry said cost cutting on the part of consumers had seen motorists delay servicing and opt for second hand parts while a number of businesses had sprung up selling part worn tyres.
The Road Safety Authority also said it was concerned the age of the vehicle feet was increasing.
Spokesman Brian Farrell said there was “evidence to show that people are not servicing their vehicles regularly or conducting routine vehicle maintenance.
“Worryingly, where servicing is happening it’s taking place in back street garages and ‘used’ or second hand parts are being used, sometimes without the customers knowledge,” he said.
The authority said an average of 420 cars a month going though the NCT were being quarantined after a ‘Fail Dangerous’ certificate has been issued. These are vehicles that were sharing the same roads as everyone else the day before and are being towed way by recovery trucks from the NCT Centre.