New car sales down 55 per cent in a year


The motor industry has called on the Government to clamp down on unregistered imported cars and illegal roadside sellers after figures showed a further plummet in sales of new cars.

New car sales plummeted by nearly 55 per cent over the last 12 months, according to figures released this evening.

There were 1,748 new cars sold in October 2008, down 54.59 per cent on October 2007, when 3,849 left forecourts.

New car sales for the first ten months of the year, 150,790, were down18.22 per cent on the same period in 2007, when 184,394 new cars were sold, according to the data published by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (Simi).

The car industry group said the figures came with a “stern warning” to the Government and the agencies responsible for pursing unregistered vehicles and illegal roadside car sellers.

“The decline in car sales for the month of October was not unexpected but in this difficult economic climate the level and visibility of illegal roadside-selling and the equally large-scale and visible illegal imports driving on our roads should not be tolerated,” said Simi Director General, Alan Nolan.

Simi criticised Revenue’s claims that progress was being made adding that the level of enforcement was “not enough”. The group also called on other State agencies such as the Garda and local authorities to commit to taking “serious action”.

Simi estimates that unregistered imported cars may represent a loss of between €50 million and €100 million to the Exchequer.

Mr Nolan said more than 2,000 jobs had been lost in the motor industry so far and with the continuing decline in business, this number will increase.

“The motor industry like many others is working within increasingly tough market conditions but in our case this difficult situation is compounded by the level of black market activity which is not only tolerated but is allowed to prosper”, he added.