Ireland new car registrations January 2024

January was a good month for the Irish car industry, as hybrid power overtook diesel for the first time.

You might think that the Irish motor industry was business as usual in January. The Hyundai Tucson is the country's best-selling car, and Toyota is the best-selling brand. As you were, chaps.

Interesting trends

However, once you start drilling into the data for the first - and most important - month for new cars sales (or technically registrations - some or many of the cars represented in these figures will not be sales to an individual owner) of 2024, some interesting trends start to emerge.

For a start, hybrid power has overtaken diesel for the first time. Petrol cars are still top-dog as far as the market is concerned, with 31.83 per cent of overall registrations, but hybrid cars have moved past diesel for second place: hybrids are on 23.95 per cent, diesel on 21.77 per cent. Electric cars hold a 13.06 per cent share, while plug-in hybrids have 6.96 per cent.

While there is a general sense of economic angst in the national air, sales of commercial vehicles aren't showing the same concerns about the economy - van sales were up by 35.3 per cent, while HGV sales climbed by 7.8 per cent. Both are good indicators of underlying economic activity.

Irish buyers are also going for automatics far more than they are manuals these days, although that is more down to what is being offered by car makers than personal preference. 65 per cent of registrations in January were of automatic cars.

Jump in imports

Imports have seen a big jump - they're up 40.7 per cent compared to January last year, with 5,326 used cars entering the country.

Overall, 31,470 new cars were registered in January, a rise of 15 per cent compared to the same month last year, but still three per cent lower than January of 2019, the last pre-covid January figures, and those that the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) still regards as 'normal.'

SIMI's director general Brian Cooke said: "January 2024 has seen a positive start to the year for the Irish Motor Industry. New car registrations are 15 per cent ahead of 2023, although they remain 3 per cent behind 2019 (pre-covid levels). Sales of commercial vehicles, both Light (LCV) and Heavy (HGVs) registrations, are showing increases on last year, a positive signal from the business sector. Electric vehicles (EVs) sales continue to grow, with 4,109 registrations in January, up 12 per cent on the same period last year. Petrol cars (31.8 per cent) retained the top market share, while Hybrid-electric cars (23.9 per cent) surged to overtake Diesel cars (21.7 per cent) claiming second place for the first time.

"While EV sales can be viewed positively, the growth is slightly less than the overall increase in the new car market. This highlights the ongoing challenge as we move away from the early adapter stage into a more mainstream market. The Industry continues to supply a greater range of Electric Vehicles (EVs) with over 70 different EV models available for sale in Ireland. As we move forward, ongoing Government support in terms of incentives and charging infrastructure will play a vital role in ensuring the success of the next phase in the transition to electrification."

Electric sales up, but not by as much

Those electric car sales have increased by 12 per cent compared with January 2023, but that represents quite a slowdown from the previous triple-digit percentage increases. Mind you, it's also a growth from a much larger pool of electric car ownership, so it's not quite a like-for-like comparison.

While we focus on electric, diesel still dominates the charts in one sense - the Hyundai Tucson is still the best-selling car in the country, and most of those sales are of diesel-engined versions. It's followed by the Toyota Yaris Cross, Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Kona, Toyota C-HR, Skoda Octavia, Nissan Juke, and Volkswagen Golf.

Unsurprisingly, Toyota is the best-selling brand with four models in the top ten sellers list. Zoë Bradley, Head of Marketing Communications & Corporate Affairs, Toyota Ireland, said:  "Closing out January with a market leading share for the fourth year in a row is something we're immensely proud of and reflects the consumer demand for a more environmentally conscious car choice. It's encouraging to see more motorists make the move towards electrified driving, which outperformed diesel this January and continues to grow in popularity and market share. Toyota has the widest range of electrified vehicles on the market, offering motorists a choice of low-emission options that suit any lifestyle, budget or style. Exciting new arrivals like the Toyota C-HR Hybrid Electric, our expanding Plug-in hybrid models and all-electric Toyota bZ4X represent our continued commitment to our 'Built for a Better World' brand promise. The demand we're seeing from consumers for electrified options gives us the confidence that this year will be another positive year for sustainable motoring." 

Behind Toyota in the sales charts were Hyundai, Volkswagen, Skoda, Kia, Nissan, Peugeot, Audi, Ford, and Dacia.

In terms of electric cars, the Hyundai Kona was the best-seller in January, followed by the Volkswagen ID.4, the BYD Seal, the MG 4, the Volkswagen ID.3, the Skoda Enyaq, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Nissan Leaf, and the BYD Atto 3.

The best-selling electric car brands were Hyundai and Volkswagen in joint first place, followed by BYD, Kia, MG, Nissan, BMW, Skoda, Mercedes, and Volvo.


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Published on February 1, 2024