New car registrations down 12%
New car registrations are down 12 per cent so far this year, a drop of 10,093 on the first seven months of last year. A total of 71,065 new cars have been registered this year, with July sales standing at 4,431, up 352 on the same month last year.
However, according to figures from Motorcheck.ie, there was an abnormal spike in registrations on July 31st, with five times the daily average number of cars registered. This meant the monthly total went from a potential 11 per cent drop last year to a 10 per cent increase. Yesterday, 856 of the 4,079 new cars were registered.
According to Motorcheck.ie co-founder Shane Teskey said: "The abnormal spike in registrations at the end of last month could signal an increase in tactical registrations as part of the manufacturers’ sales strategy".
Commonly referred to as "pre-registering" a car, a 'tactical registration' is one where the manufacturer registers a new car to itself or a franchised dealer in order to boost its sales figures and market share.
"When overall sales drop below a certain threshold, tactical registrations can make a significant impact on an individual brands market share," said Mr Teskey. "From a sales perspective 'pre-registered' cars with little or no mileage may offer an attractive alternative to the consumer who lacks the confidence to purchase brand new. This can mean some great offer on 'nearly new' cars sitting on forecourts".
The Irish motor sector is awaiting details of plans by the Government to revamp the current tax system for new cars, due to be announced in this year’s budget. In return for a likely increase in motor tax and potential changes to Vehicle Registration Tax, the motor trade has been lobbying for the introduction of a new numberplate registration system to overcome the current seasonality in the market. The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (Simi) are predicting a sales total of less than 80,000 new cars in 2012,
According to Alan Nolan, Simi director general, up to 70 per cent of new cars are sold in the first four months of the year. “The hugely disruptive impact of seasonality is one of the most serious challenges facing the motor industry which is exacerbated in a period of economic downturn.
“A change to the registration system to provide for two distinct registration periods per year (January to June and July to December), would address this problem and protect jobs and businesses by spreading sales more evenly through the year. It would also benefit car buyers who purchase later in the year by more clearly identifying these cars for valuation purposes."
Of the new cars registered so far this year, 74 per cent were diesel, while 23 per cent petrol. By the end of July 122 new electric cars had been registered, 554 hybrids and 1,198 flexifuel models.
Toyota remains the best selling brand on the market with 8,994 registrations, followed by Volkswagen with 8,897, Ford with 7,760 and Nissan with 5,656. The best selling model remains the Ford Focus.