Brexit woes now weighing on used car market too

Flood of imported UK cars is depressing the Irish used car market

Just as it is for new cars, so too it is for used. It seems that the tide of cheap used imported cars from the UK is having an effect on the Irish used car market.

The rush for imports, driven in large part by the Brexit-affected value of Sterling relative to the euro, has been blamed for the 10 per cent fall in new car sales so far this year (on top of lower sales figures for 2018 and 2017 as well). It also now seems that the Brexit effect is driving down used car sales.

According to research by Cartell, the car history checking experts, used car sales have fallen by 3.8 per cent so far this year, or 6,765 cars. The market for used cars in Ireland is vastly bigger than that for new cars - more than 900,000 used cars change hands annually, compared to circa 150,000 new car sales. That number has been falling since 2016, when the UK voted to exit the EU.

Cartell’s figures show a 1.8 per cent fall in used car sales in Ireland in both 2017 and 2018, following a peak of 945,000 sales in 2016. This year, Cartell expects to see a bigger fall again, with current estimates of a 3.5 per cent fall.

In the same period, imports rose by 2.4 per cent, and that’s added to a 7.5 per cent rise in imported cars last year. Imports are now making up an increasing number of all used car transactions, with the current figure standing at 21.9 per cent for 2018.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring