New car sales still climbing but there’s a sting in the tail for used buyers

New car market up by 28 per cent so far this year with Volkswagen back on top as the best selling brand after two months of 151 registrations

Volkswagen was back on top as the best-selling new car brand by the end of February. Last month Toyota took the lead on the German giant.

Volkswagen was back on top as the best-selling new car brand by the end of February. Last month Toyota took the lead on the German giant.

 

The sales of new cars in Ireland grew by 24 per cent in February, compared to the same period last year, bringing the total sales gain over 2014 to 28 per cent overall. That means there are roughly an extra 10,000 new cars on the road over and above last year’s figures.

Volkswagen Group took three of the top five selling model spots for February, with the Golf and Passat locking out the top two spaces, the the Nissan Qashqai coming third, the Skoda Octavia fourth and the Ford Focus fifth. VW claimed the best-selling brand and model (the Golf, again) slots for the year to date overall. In year-to-date sales, Hyundai has climbed above Nissan to snatch fourth place overall behind VW, Toyota and Ford.

Commenting on the figures Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) Director General, Alan Nolan said “it’s good to be able to report continued progress in the Industry’s recovery back toward more normal levels of business”.  Recently released figures from the CSO confirm that employment in the Industry grew by 4,500 last year, on the back of the increase in vehicle sales, and now totals close to 42,000 employees. “With consumer confidence remaining strong and new car sales continuing to grow we are confident that employment in the sector will increase further this year.”

There are some dark clouds in the sunshine though – although van and light commercial sales continue to perform very strongly (up 61 per cent for the year so far) heavy goods vehicle sales have fallen significantly, down 20 per cent inf February and 29 per cent for the year-to-date. SIMI says that’s down to complications in the new vehicle approval system which is holding up registrations but it can’t make healthy reading for the haulage industry.

There are concerns too for the used car market, which is also keeping up strong sales. The problem is that values of used cars are remaining unnaturally high, because of low stocks of used cars from the years of recession – when no-one was buying new cars. The recent plummet in the value of the Euro has also shut off some of the supply of used cars from the UK, making choice even thinner on the ground for used customers.

“We have now seen the second straight month where the number of used cars imported from the UK and Northern Ireland has decreased. This is unheard of in recent years. Demand in the used sector remain high so the knock-on effect for used car buyers is that used prices are remaining steady and choice is at a premium”, said Michael Rochford, managing director of Motorcheck.ie. “In times such as this consumers need to keep their wits about them as heightened demand can pressurise buyers into making hasty decisions. We would urge car buyers to always keep a level head and the golden rule is that if deal looks too good to be true then it probably is.”