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The flood of imports, driven by the fall in the value of Sterling since the Brexit vote in 2016, is now having a skewing effect on statistics for the Irish national vehicle fleet.
According to Cartell.ie the number of cars on the road here that were originally registered here has shrunk in the last quarter of 2017, falling from 1.85 million vehicles to 1.78 million. At the same time, the number of imported cars on the road in the country jumped from 444,000 to 487,000.
John Byrne, Legal and Public Relations Manager, Cartell.ie, says: "The impact of imports has been noticeable in 2017 as owners retire native vehicles and look to replace them with imported vehicles in ever increasing numbers. We would see imports remaining strong in 2018 alongside a curb in demand for new diesel vehicles. While hybrid and electric vehicle sales will continue to dominate headlines with analysts waiting for a headwind to bring in larger numbers of sales it's still likely the dominant theme for 2018 will be imports."
While some 93,000 used cars were imported into Ireland last year, the net figure (taking into account cars scrapped or taken off the road) means that there was an increase of 43,275 in the total number of imported cars being used on Irish roads. In the same time period, the number of original Irish registered cars actually fell, by 53,857, and that's in spite of more than 131,000 new cars being sold here last year.
The number of imported cars on the road is especially stark if you take a historical view - looking back to the beginning of 2000, a mere 40,483 imported cars were registered for use on Irish roads, meaning that the imported vehicle fleet has grown by a factor of ten in just 18 years. A decade ago, in 2008, it stood at 217,766 - less than half the current number.