Weak sterling prompts spike in UK car imports

Consumers avail of favourable exchange rate to pick up bargains across the Border

The Brexit-related weakness in sterling has coincided with a spike in used car imports from the UK and a significant fall-off in new car sales here.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the number of used, imported vehicles licensed here for the first six months of the year rose by 46 per cent to nearly 45,000.

At the same time, the number of new cars licensed here fell by 10.4 per cent to 87,346.

The figures are broadly in line with those from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), published last week, which show that 91,189 new cars have been sold so far this year, a drop, compared to 2016, of 10 per cent.

Premium brands

Experts suggest Irish consumers are ditching the purchase of mainstream models here in favour of buying used, premium brands in the UK.

The CSO figures, which reflect the point at which a car is registered fot tax purposes, show that in June 3,585 new private cars were licensed for the first time, a decrease of 13.5 per cent compared on June last year.

A total of 7,085 used, imported private cars were licensed, representing an increase of nearly 30 per cent on the same month last year.

The poor monthly sales also come ahead of the July registration plate change, which typically boosts new car sales here.