Ireland's car dealers and importers are at last seeing signs of something hopeful, with a significant surge in registrations in June triggering hopes for a strong July with the new 212 number plate.
Total sales still 20 per cent down on 'normal'
According to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), 2,767 new cars were registered in Ireland in June, which is not only a big improvement on the 1,006 cars registered under lockdown conditions in June 2020, but is also ahead of June 2019, when 1,408 cars were registered under 'normal' conditions. It brings total registrations for the year to date to 63,867 - ahead of the 52,885 sold last year, but still 20 per cent down on the 80,758 sold in 2019.
Lack of car hire sales
Brian Cooke, SIMI's Director General, said: "The last fifteen months has been for the Motor Industry a hugely difficult time, with new car sales down over a fifth when compared to pre COVID 2019. Today July 1st, with the new 212 registration plate, will hopefully be a turning point for the Industry and with both the lead-in time provided by the re-opening of showrooms and a strong order bank, retailers are optimistic that they can recover some of the sales lost during the first half of the year. Notwithstanding this the impact of COVID will continue for the sector, as due to the concerns over the short-term outlook for international tourism there continues to be a lack of demand in the car hire market. On a more positive note, the demand for both Commercial Vehicles and Electric Vehicles is very encouraging. In this context it is vital that the current EV incentives are extended beyond their expiry dates as the country begins its transition to zero emissions transport."
Electric car sales pass 4,000
390 new electric cars were registered in June, compared to just 42 in the same month last year. That brings total electric car sales to 4,333 this year, compared to 1,889 last year, although fully electric vehicles still account for only 6.78 per cent of the total car market. Plug-in hybrids take 6.37 per cent, with hybrids on 16.5 per cent, petrol on 31.7 per cent, and diesel still the leading choice of Irish motorists on 36 per cent.
Imports of used cars were up slightly compared to last year - 5,631 used cars were imported in June 2021, compared with 4,263 imports in June 2020, but that's still a decrease compared to June 2019, when 8,060 cars were imported. For the year to date, 35,754 cars have been imported - a reduction of 32.8 per cent compared to 2019.
Toyota still holds the top slot for sales, followed by Volkswagen, Hyundai, Skoda, and Ford. The Hyundai Tucson is still the best-selling individual model, followed by the Toyota Corolla, Toyota RAV4, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Skoda Octavia. The Tucson was also the best-selling car in June.