New car sales up 20% in November despite lockdown

Private buyer market is down just 9.4%, compared to a 30% drop in corporate sales

New car sales in November were up 20 per cent on last year, despite the lockdown. Figures show sales of 914 new cars last month, compared to 761 for the same month in 2019.

The increase in what is a relatively quiet month for new car sales, is against an overall market drop of 25 per cent so far this year, with total registrations standing at 87,728.

According to data from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (Simi), Volkswagen is the best-selling brand this year with 10,606 registrations, just ahead of Toyota with 10,017. Hyundai is third with 8,100, ahead of Skoda with 7,404 and Ford with 6,764.

Only three brands – Tesla, Porsche, and Ssangyong – have recorded sales growth this year, and all three were working from relatively small numbers.



The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling model on the Irish market, with 3,753 registrations. It’s success reflects the growth in petrol-electric hybrid sales, which now make up 12 per cent of new car sales, up from 8 per cent last year.

Plug-in hybrid models are also proving popular, now accounting for 2.8 per cent of the market, while fully-electric models now make up 4.5 per cent of new car sales. The best-selling all-electric car on the market is the Tesla Model 3 saloon, with 679 registrations.

The figures show that 63 per cent of all-electric car sales are to private buyers, while 18 per cent are to companies.

In the overall new car market, the private buyer market is down just 9.4 per cent, compared to a drop of 30 per cent in the corporate market and an 84 per cent collapse in hire-drive registrations this year.

In the commercial vehicle markets, registrations of vans are down 14.8 per cent to 21,431 so far this year, while truck sales have dropped by 21.9 per cent to 2,038.

According to Brian Cooke, Simi director general, dealers have learned to make better use of their digital platforms during the lockdowns. He says it has provided "an important shop window for customers looking to buy a new or used car".

“With vehicle manufacturers and retailers offering generous incentives to buy a new 211-registration car, the industry is hopeful that activity will be brisk in the coming weeks and months ahead.”

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer

Michael McAleer is Motoring Editor, Innovation Editor and an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times