New car registrations rebound in May but still lag 2019 levels

SIMI figures show an increasing number of consumers opting for electric and hybrid vehicles

There were 541 new electric vehicles registered in May, and almost 4,000 new electric cars registered so far this year. Photograph: iStock

There were 541 new electric vehicles registered in May, and almost 4,000 new electric cars registered so far this year. Photograph: iStock

 

The number of new cars registered in May rose to 5,955, more than triple the same month in 2020, when 1,741 new cars were registered. However, registrations were still lagging pre-Covid times, with 6,320 cars registered in the same month of 2019.

The year-to-date figures also show some lag, with more than 61,100 new cars registered over the period, 23 per cent fewer than in 2019.

The data, from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), indicates higher demand for light commercial vehicles, which saw an increase of 2,316 registrations compared to May last year, and 1,717 for the same month in 2019. Year-to-date figures showed a 10.1 per cent rise on 2019 figures, with 16,040 such vehicles registered.

Heavy goods vehicles registrations were lower in May compared with 2019 figures, with 202 registered last month compared with 298 in May 2019. The year-to-date figures showed a 4.1 per cent decline compared with 2019 figures.

Fewer used cars were imported last month, with 6,032 imported in May, compared with 9,347 imports in May 2019. Year-to-date used imports are down 33.15 per cent on 2019’s figure of 45,066.

The data also shows an increasing number of consumers are opting for electric and hybrid vehicles, with 541 new electric vehicles registered in May, and almost 4,000 new electric cars registered so far this year. Electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrids and hybrids showed an increase in market share.

Encouraging

SIMI director general Brian Cooke said new vehicle registrations were encouraging compared to 2020, but were still behind pre-Covid figures.

“The reopening of car showrooms to customers and the expected boost to consumer spending has allowed for the completion of deals previously in the pipeline and sees retailers optimistic for both new and used vehicle sales for the balance of this year and into 2022,” he said.

“It is hugely encouraging to see the increase in the sale of electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, with electric vehicle sales for the first five months of the year close to the full year volume for 2020, and further growth is expected as the year progresses.

“In this context, and with the announcement of the Government’s economic recovery plan imminent, it is vital that the plan includes ambitious State funding for the EV project, both in terms of the rolling out of national EV charging infrastructure as well as vehicle grant supports for both private and corporate car buyers.”