New car sales up 2.4% despite end of scrappage scheme


NEW CAR sales increased by 2.4 per cent last year despite a sharp decline in sales after the scrappage scheme ended.

Almost 87,000 new private cars were registered last year compared with 85,000 in 2010, according to figures released yesterday by the Central Statistics Office.

Car sales decreased by almost 25 per cent from July to December compared with the same period in 2010. The Government car scrappage scheme finished on June 30th.

However, car sales managed to increase overall for the year due to a strong first half of 2011 which saw an increase of 13 per cent on the same period in 2010. This period made up 80 per cent of car sales last year.

The data shows a continued shift by motorists towards diesel engines, which accounted for more than 70 per cent of private car registrations last year.

Petrol cars made up just a quarter of those purchased in 2011 compared with 70 per cent of new car purchases in 2007 before the introduction of new vehicle registration tax for low carbon cars.

More than 90 per cent of cars sold last year were in the two lowest emission bands A and B.

However, the environmental concern of Irish motorists has not stretched to electric cars which have had a very low take-up since the first charge point was launched in 2010.

Just 48 private electric cars were registered in 2011 despite predictions that there would be 2,000 such cars by the end of the year.

Just 538 hybrid vehicles were registered in Ireland last year, a 25 per cent drop on 2010 sales for the electric and combustion engined vehicles.

The sale of new goods vehicles increased by 6.5 per cent to 11,188 in 2011 from 10,510 in 2010.

Sales of imported private second-hand cars increased by about 5 per cent last year.