Sales of new cars up 5% on January 2009


NEW CAR sales in January were up 5.03 per cent at 16,595 on the same period last year, according to figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).

The relatively small increase came despite the introduction of a new scrappage scheme in the December budget.

Ford was the biggest-selling brand last month with sales of 2,643 new cars, representing 15.9 per cent of the market. Its Fiesta and Focus models were the two top-selling cars during the month.

The US brand was followed by Toyota with 2,081 sales, a market share of 12.5 per cent.

The Japanese brand has consistently featured in the top two for sales over the last decade, but may suffer in the coming months on the back of a major global recall over potential faults with accelerator pedals on eight big-selling models.

More than 26,000 cars in Ireland are part of the recall.

Third place in Irish car sales went to Volkswagen, which has performed particularly strongly of late.

The German marque recorded a sales rise of over 46 per cent on the same month last year, with 1,819 new car sales in January.

While January normally represents about a quarter of the total annual sales, many in the industry blamed freezing weather conditions in the early part of the month for the rather lacklustre start to the year.

Alan Nolan, director general of Society of the Irish Motor Industry, said sales during the first 10 days of the month were lost as customers declined to take delivery of their new cars.

Dealers were also hesitating to register the cars until they safely took delivery of the trade-in vehicles.

He referred to the fact that sales over the first 10 days were down by 31 per cent on last year, before recovering to end the month up 5 per cent.

“The weather played a detrimental part in the market at the start of the month, but the end of the month is generally in line with what we expect,” he said.

“We still reckon the year will end with sales of over 70,000 new cars. That’s a strong improvement on last year, albeit that was a dreadful year for dealers, with the market at 57,460.”

Initial sales figures also show a significant move towards low-emission cars. Cars with less than 141 g/km made up 71 per cent of all new car sales.