Record sales of 113,000 likely


A record for new car sales will be established this year, according to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).

Already more than 100,000 new cars have been sold in the Republic, and by the end of the year the motor industry expects that the total will rise to 113,000.

The last time the 100,000 figure was breached was in 1981, and the 30 per cent growth this year will push sales to a record high. Sales of both light and heavy commercial vehicles are also growing rapidly.

SIMI president Mr Des Large said factors contributing to the huge growth in car sales included low interest rates, the excellent economic performance and the Government's scrappage scheme.

About 14,000 cars have been sold in the first eight months of this year under the Government scheme which gives a £1,000 vehicle registration tax (VRT) rebate to anyone scrapping a car over 10 years old and buying a new vehicle.

The bulk of cars scrapped under the scheme are between 14 and 15 years old, according to the SIMI. Since its introduction in July 1995, a total of 19,000 cars have been scrapped.

SIMI said that replacing older cars with new models would have a beneficial impact on the environment as more recent models of cars have reduced emission levels.

The increase in car sales will bring a large boost to Government revenue, as the tax take from new car sales is expected to rise from £362 million to £482 million.

New car figures for August were up 10 per cent to 6,436. Overall car sales for the year to date are up 31 per cent to 100,770. Sales of light commercial vehicles rose 26 per cent to 1,042 in August, with sales over the year to date up 18 per cent to 12,842.

Sales of heavy commercial vehicles increased by 30 per cent last month to 220, while year to date sales were up 20 per cent to 2,784.