New car sales rose4.7 per cent in May compared to last year, with 6,341 registrations. However, total registrations are still down 7.6 per cent on last year, with 79,343 registrations in the first five months of 2019. The sale of new cars are still being impacted by Brexit-related uncertainty and used imports.
Used car imports continued to grow, up 3 per cent on last year, totalling 45,062 up to the end of May.
According to Brian Cooke, director general of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (Simi): "Registrations for the month of May, both cars and light commercial vehicles, showed an improvement on May of last year, although the increase in numerical terms was relatively small. However, sales overall year to date have been disappointing with both business and consumer Brexit-related uncertainty contributing to dampened demand for new vehicles."
New electric vehicle registrations stood at 1,902 at the end of May, compared to 1,233 for the entirety of 2018. Diesel sales have now dropped below 50 per ent of the new car market, with a 47.6 per cent share compared to 40.6 per cent for petrol variants. Petrol-electric hybrids continue to sell well, growing to 8.4 per cent of the new car market, compared to 5.4 per cent last year.
In terms of best sellers, Volkswagen tops the list with an 11.3 per cent share of the market, ahead of Toyota on 9.9 per cent and Hyundai on 9.7 per cent. Ford is next with 8.4 per cent followed by Skoda on 8 per cent. the best-selling model so far this year is the Nissan Qashqai with 2,875 registrations, ahead of the Hyundai Tucson with 2,733.
Hyundai is the best-selling electric car brand, with its Kona the most popular electric model, followed by Nissan's Leaf. both are well ahead of rivals like the VW e Golf and Renault Zoe.
According to Cooke: “As we move into June the industry is now focused on preparations for the start of the July 192 registration period. This will see a variety of strong offers to consumers across all brands, and in this environment, consumers will have a wide choice of cars to choose from at a really competitive price.”