New car sales rose by almost a third in 2015

CSO data reveals 121,110 registrations in 2015, up on 92,361 for previous year

Irish car sales continue to rise indicating consumer confidence among predictions of a pending return to 2008 levels. Photograph: Reuters.

Irish car sales continue to rise indicating consumer confidence among predictions of a pending return to 2008 levels. Photograph: Reuters.

 

New car sales rose by almost a third last year in a market commonly viewed as a key indicator of economic recovery and confidence.

Figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Thursday show there were 121,110 registrations in 2015, a growth rate of 31.1 per cent on the previous year’s figure of 92,361.

When commercial or goods vehicles are included, that figure rose to 153,850 from 117,652.

The increase was spread out to every county with 10 reporting in excess of 3,000 new cars on the road during 2015. The majority of those were in Dublin (35.8 per cent) and Cork (11.9 per cent).

However, the figures fall short of those reported earlier this month by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) which held new registrations at 124,945. That figure is expected to rise to about 150,000 this year, it said.

Even in the midst of its emissions scandal, Volkswagen was the country’s preferred carmaker with 15,016 cars sold, according to the CSO data.

They were followed by Toyota, Ford, Nissan and Hyundai in that order and all with more than 10,000 vehicle sales. The majority of new cars (71.1 per cent) were diesel models.

Black was the preferred colour, representing one fifth of new sales, with silver close behind and then grey and white.

Following the introduction of the dual registration system, splitting new car sales into the two halves of the year, there was little change in January activity but those for July are seen to be increasing.

“When analysing licensing on a quarterly basis, the main change in new car licensing can be seen in increased licensing in quarter three, while in quarter two the percentage of new car licensing has fallen,” the CSO reported.

“The number of new cars licensed in the final quarter of each ear is traditionally low (due in part to the short lifespan of the vehicle’s registration year) and the introduction of the dual system has not changed this trend.”

Earlier this month the SIMI said it now anticipated car sales to return to 2008 levels.

“We are pleased that 2015 has turned out to be a good year of continued recovery for our Industry which is a very strong indicator of the health of the general economy,” its director general Alan Nolan said.

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