New car registrations fall 7.5% in March, latest figures show

Number of cars imported from UK shows large jump amid post-Brexit sterling slide

New figures show that a total of 19,916 new cars were registered in March, compared with 21,529 a year earlier. Photograph: iStock

New figures show that a total of 19,916 new cars were registered in March, compared with 21,529 a year earlier. Photograph: iStock

 

The number of new cars registered last month fell 7.5 per cent, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry said, with sterling weakness leading to a larger number of imports entering the country.

The figures showed a total of 19,916 new cars were registered in March, compared with 21,529 a year earlier. That brings to 75,967 the number of new cars registered in the year to date, a decline of 8.3 per cent year on year.

Commercial vehicles also showed a decline, with light vehicles down 8.4 per cent and heavy goods vehicles falling 3.5 per cent. On a yearly basis, the figures were down by 10.7 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.

Simi director general Alan Nolan said the decline was partly to do with the timing of Easter, which fell in March in 2016, with the result that the seasonal registration of hire-drive fleets was going to be later this year.

“With these starting to come through in the last few days of the month, we have seen the figures start to improve but clearly the trend is indicating a reduction on last year’s market,” he said.

Consumer sentiment is also hitting the car market, edging lower since a peak in 2016.

The number of imported used cars has increased by 56 per cent as Brexit hits sterling. But this trend was chiefly seen in cars of more than four years old, with 71 per cent falling into that category and with 26 per cent more than seven years old. Only 0.17 per cent of the market was accounted for by new cars.

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