New vehicle sales down 64% in first week of 2009


New vehicle sales fell by 64 per cent in the first week of 2009, official figures revealed today. 

As the recession begins to bite, only 9,390 vehicles were registered in the first five days of January compared to 26,029 for the same period last year.

The figures from the National Vehicle and Drivers File also show a major shift towards diesel-fuelled vehicles due to the Government’s clampdown on carbon dioxide emissions as only two of the top ten sellers are petrol.

The total number of vehicles registered in 2008 fell by 16 per cent from 338,566 to 285,514.

The National Vehicle and Drivers File database is maintained by the Vehicle Registration Unit within the Department of the Environment Heritage and Local Government.

The top selling car so far in 2009 is the Nissan Qashqai 1.5 Diesel, of which 377 were sold from garage forecourts. In the same period last year the Ford Focus 1.4 petrol topped the list with 714 sales.

Other cars in the top ten in 2009 were: Ford Fiesta, Toyota Avensis, Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Passat, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, Audi A4, Skoda Octavia and Opel Insignia.

The official figures also show that the total number of vehicles imported into Ireland in 2008 increased by 1 per cent to 90,736.

Car records checking firm, said vehicle sales are clearly hit by low consumer demand but the change over to diesel is encouraging from an environmental perspective.

“The switch to diesel powered vehicles has been motivated by the government’s new tax and VRT regime introduced in July 2008,” said director Jeff Aherne.

“In the first week of 2008, nine out of the top ten vehicles registered were petrol models whereas in 2009 only two out of the top ten were petrol models.”

Mr Aherne said the switch to diesel will help reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions in the long term.