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Why do Irish car buyers not get discounts?


I wonder if you could explain something I don't really understand about the Irish car buying market, even though I have a big interest in cars and the industry. Why is it that Irish car buyers hardly ever seem to get the sort of discounts that buyers in Britain do? I'm not just referring to the fact that overall new and used prices are cheaper there.

I wanted to buy a new or nearly new Peugeot 508 here recently and thought I would get a reasonable discount, which I pushed for, as that model does not sell as well as many of it's rivals and I thought the Peugeot dealer would be delighted to sell a saloon seeing as the market for them is declining so much and so many people now want SUVs instead. Alas, I could not get any sort of decent discount for a new or nearly new 508. It is well known that in Britain the buyer often gets a sizeable discount for car types or models that lag behind many rivals in sales, or for certain brands such as Vauxhall/Opel and Citroen. From what I observe and hear, you don't get decent discounts either for certain makes and models here in Ireland.

Higher VRT and other taxes here, don't explain these differences alone. I thought with Brexit and the vast increase in used and nearly new imports that Irish dealers would be more price competitive, but I'm surprised also that the prices of good fresh second hand cars here haven't come down more in this backdrop. For some good reasons, I'd prefer to buy here than from abroad, but it just seems that Irish car buyers can't catch the breaks that UK buyers get at all! Do you agree with me or can you kindly explain these differences in both markets?

Thanks, JC

JC Holohan (Waterford)

Jun 2018 Filed under: used car values

Expert answer

Hi JC,

The big issue, really, is the size of the market. In the UK, vast dealer groups, with multiple outlets, are the norm and, obviously, these groups can be more cost-efficient and can potentially offer bigger discounts. Although there are dealer groups in Ireland, the norm is still very much the individual family-run business. That’s equally true on the import side of things — although there are now importers here that are tied directly to the car maker itself, many are still private, individual, locally-owned companies and those struggle to match the sort of discounting that is more common in the UK market. Plus, the fact that we buy in and around 100,000 to 130,000 cars a year here means that there’s less volume to spread discounts across. The UK market shifts two million cars a year — a considerable difference. VRT and VAT costs also play into it, as the wholesale price is often kept artificially lower to try and keep the added tax price down as much as possible.


That’s the case for the defence at any rate. The case for the prosecution is much simpler — Ireland has long been a nation that rips off its citizens, and that’s not going to change any time soon.


Neil Briscoe - Complete Car Advisor

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