Sales of luxury cars in Ireland hit near boom-time levels

In 2015, new Irish registrations of Porsche hit highest number since peak in 2006

The Porsche AG 911 Targa. File image: Bloomberg

The Porsche AG 911 Targa. File image: Bloomberg

 

Porsche sales in Ireland reached near-boom levels in 2016, with the sale of luxury cars on the rise since the lows of the economic crash.

All car sales took a fall between the years 2008 and 2011 and a broad increase can be seen across all makes from 2012 to 2016, according to an analysis of statistics compiled by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.

New registrations of Porsches in Ireland peaked in 2006 at 94, followed by a stark drop-off to a single car in 2010 and none in 2011.

Belgard Porsche, the only retailer for the car in Ireland at the time, closed down in 2009, contributing heavily to the drop off. In 2012, a new retailer was up and running and 15 Porsches were sold, increasing to 24 in 2013.

A steady growth in registrations occurred over the following years, peaking again at 85 in 2015 and 70 last year. An early count for the first two months of this year appears to indicate a maintained trend, with 24 registrations so far, compared with 26 in 2016 and 23 in 2015 in the same period.

The vast majority of Porsches are registered in Dublin. Last year, the capital accounted for 66 of the 70, or 94.29 per cent. There was one registered in each of the counties Carlow, Kerry, Limerick and Meath.

The Porsche 911 is number 11 on The Irish Times Top 100 cars list¨, retailing at between €129,713 and €254,030.

Other higher-priced cars have seen upturns in sales. In the last 10 years, BMW registrations in Ireland peaked in 2007 at 6,962, hit a low of 1,405 in 2009 and climbed back to 5,504 in 2016.

The same pattern by year, illustrating the effect of the economic downturn on the consumer, can be seen in Mercedes registrations, which went from a boom-time high of 5,375 (2007), to a low of 1,370 (2009), back to 3,774 last year.

Similar too were the trends for Audi; 5,276 (2007), 2,388 (2009), 6,065 (2016) - and Lexus; 1,591 (2007), 215 (2009), 592 (2016).

Car sales have generally raised across the board, with Toyota leading the tally with 15,523 last year - an improvement on previous years, though still short of the peak rate of 28,023 in 2007.

Hyundai came in close second in 2016 with 15,442, followed by Volkswagen at 15,408.

After the first two months of this year, Toyota remains on top with 6,153 new registrations in Ireland, followed again by Hyundai at 6,026. So far, Ford is edging Volkswagen out of the third rank, with the count at 5,516 and 5,454 registrations respectively.

Since the year 2000, the data shows, Alfa Romeo cars have been on a steady decline in terms of new registrations, falling from 2,645 that year, to 43 in both 2015 and 2016.

Recently, a survey by 123.ie found Audi to be the most desirable make among Irish motorists. The number of new Audi registrations in Ireland in 2016 is the highest for any year in the dataset, which goes back to the year 2000.

Where Audi topped the preference list with 15.2 per cent of the 4,000 respondents, Renault was nominated as the least desirable of the top 10 sellers. In contrast to this result, Renault actually enjoyed an increase in registrations last year with 8,369, up from 6,090 in 2015.

However, despite the small upturn in recent years, the latest numbers are well short of the peak of 14,194 at the turn of the millennium.

This year may bring more car sales, with more than one third of the respondents saying they would change car. However, the majority say they will not be buying new, with 64 per cent looking to buy a used model.