More pressure on Irish motor trade as UK car sales fell 6% in January

More used imports into Repubic likely as diesel demand slumps in UK

Total new sales stood at 163,615 units with demand for diesel vehicles declining by an annual 25.6 percent while petrol cars rose 8.5 percent, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Photograph: Getty Images

Total new sales stood at 163,615 units with demand for diesel vehicles declining by an annual 25.6 percent while petrol cars rose 8.5 percent, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Photograph: Getty Images

 

British new car registrations fell 6.3 per cent in January, in part due to customers being put off from buying diesel models which politicians have targeted over air quality concerns, an industry body said.

Total new sales stood at 163,615 units with demand for diesel vehicles declining by an annual 25.6 percent while petrol cars rose 8.5 percent, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

“The ongoing and substantial decline in new diesel car registrations is concerning, particularly since the evidence indicates consumers and businesses are not switching into alternative technologies, but keeping their older cars running,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.

The UK market is closely watched by the Irish motor trade given the increasing number of used imports arriving into the Republic. Figures published last week showed that nearly 500,000 used or privately imported vehicles are currently on Irish roads, representing over 20 per cent of the entire fleet in the Republic. Figures from vehicle history checking service cartell.ie show 487,492 imports were registered in the State on January 1st. During the same period the size of the so-called native fleet - vehicles first registered in the Republic - stood at 1,784,716.

This swell of imports has hit the Irish motor trade hard, with claims that imports are chiefly responsible for the ten per cent dip in new cars sales here in 2017.

Added to which, there is likely to be a major flood of used and nearly-new UK diesels shunted across to the Irish market just as fast as dealers can load them onto boats. With that 17 per cent fall in UK diesel sales, there are going to be forecourts the length of our nearest neighbour clogged with unsold diesel cars, all of them falling in value, all of them just begging to be flogged off cheap here.