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Nissan Ireland, not for the first time, has called on the Government to ban the importing of second hand cars from the UK. More than 100,000 used cars were imported in 2018, mostly thanks to a Brexit-weaked Sterling triggering better value for Irish buyers spending Euro. It put a big dent in new car sales for the second year running, seeing them fall by 4.4 per cent, after a ten per cent fall in 2017.
By banning older imported models, suggests Nissan, the Government could score a triple-whammy - it would, theoretically, rejuvenate the Irish car trade; it would cause a fall in emissions - if, as Nissan suggests, pre-2014 cars were banned - and would be a boon to Government coffers. Nissan's numbers suggest that, on average, each new car sold in the Republic pours €8,500 into the national exchequer, compared to an average of €2,500 for an imported car.
"The solution to addressing carbon emissions without hitting the pocket of every householder in the country is staring the Government in the face," said James McCarthy, CEO of Nissan Ireland. "It should be cleaning up the national car fleet rather than standing by as 100,755 polluting cars are imported from the UK and put onto Irish roads each year with an enormous loss in tax revenue. 1,937 polluting cars are being put onto Irish roads each week, on average. That is not helping Ireland to reduce carbon emissions and the tax take from a used car import is €6,000 less than from a new car sale."
Nissan claims that by restricting or cutting off the imports of cars registered before 2014, i.e: those that don't comply with the most recent Euro6 emissions regulations, Ireland could dramatically cut its vehicle emissions, and avoid the need to impose a punitive carbon tax on Irish consumers.
"This ban needs to be included among any package of new measures aimed at changing consumer behaviour to reduce carbon emissions and it is also essential if the Government is to ensure that the objectives of its electomobility strategy are not wholly undermined," said Mr. McCarthy. "The Government can not solve the carbon emissions problem when 100 polluting cars are being put onto Irish roads for every zero emissions EV sold. This defeats the purpose of introducing EV incentives and it makes a mockery of Government policy to ban the sale of diesel, petrol and hybrid cars by 2030. 1,233 new EVs were sold in Ireland in 2018 while we imported 100,775 polluting cars from the U.K.. That is a sobering statistic. The Government needs to take stock of the reality, the environmental and economic impact and the future cost of cleaning up the national car fleet. A whole of government response is required. Banning used car imports pre-dating 2014 and continuing to incentivise motorists to switch to zero emissions driving is the only way to truly change consumer behaviour when it comes to reducing carbon emissions in the transport sector."
We're going to be charitable and assume that this has nothing to do with the fact that 2,877 Nissan Qashqais were imported from the UK last year, making it the fifth-most imported car, and Nissan the eighth-most imported brand.