The Irish car market is now officially more than 50 per cent electrified, as the combined sales of electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles have overtaken those of cars with only petrol or diesel power.
Diesel hybrid sales
The latest figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) show that the combined market share of all cars powered only or partially by battery now stands at 42.74 per cent for the year to date, but it stood at 51.41 per cent for May - although you do have to include the measly 1.92 per cent market share for the rarely-spotted diesel-electric hybrid market to reach that figure.
Overall, petrol remains the dominant single fuel source for this year at 32.36 per cent, with diesel accounting for 22.17 per cent, hybrids at 17.51 per cent, fully-electric at 17.27 per cent and plug-in electric hybrid at 7.96 per cent.
Total new car registrations in May were up by a massive 42 per cent compared to the same month in 2022, with 7,557 new cars registered. For the year-to-date, registrations are up by 18.2 per cent, on 74,542.
Light Commercial vehicles (LCV - vans, basically) are up 76.2 per cent compared to May last year, and year-to-date, are up 31.1 per cent. HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) registrations also show an increase of 11.9 per cent compared to May 2022 ). Year to date, HGV's are up 35.6 per cent. Increasing sales of commercial vehicles is generally seen as a good indicator of the underlying national economy.
Imports on the up
Imported second-hand cars have also increased - are buyers starting to see the potential benefits of the new VAT reclaim laws in the UK? Four thousand four hundred eighty-six used cars were imported in May, up from 3,905 in the same month last year. Year-to-date imports are up 5.2 per cent at 20,797 cars compared to 2022.
Electric sales continue to surge, possibly at a slightly slower rate than last year's. For May, 1,725 new electric vehicles were registered compared to 743 in May 2022, an increase of 132.2 per cent. So far this year, 12,875 new electric cars have been registered compared to 8,258 in the same period in 2022, a growth of 55.9 per cent.
Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General, said: "New car sales increased again in May when compared to the same month last year, and now new cars sales are edging closer to Pre-COVID levels. Some easing of supply difficulties has resulted in improvement in delivery times, and this has led to a significant growth particularly in Electric Vehicle (EV) registrations. Year to date EV sales are now 56 per cent ahead of last year, representing over 17 per cent of the new car market. During the month of May nearly one-in-four new cars sold were electric, outperforming diesel sales for the month. Further analysis of the registrations highlights that when we combine electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and hybrids, which use battery technology for driving, they account for over 50 per cent of the new car market for May. Commercial vehicle registrations both the heavy and light sectors, also demonstrated strong growth during the month."
Toyota still the best-selling brand
So far this year, the best-selling car brand is still Toyota, followed by Volkswagen, Hyundai, Skoda, and Kia. The Hyundai Tucson retains its number one spot in the best-selling models' list, followed by the Kia Sportage, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Yaris Cross, and the Volkswagen ID.4 - the first time that VW's big-selling EV has made it into the top-five overall sellers. Thanks to the ID.4, VW is still the best-selling electric car brand, followed by Hyundai, Tesla, Kia, and BMW. The ID.4 is the top-selling electric model for the year so far, followed by the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Tesla Model Y, Skoda Enyaq, and the Kia EV6.