The latest figures for new car sales to year end 2016, released by car history experts Motorcheck.ie, show the market is up 17.4 per cent year on year.
The industry had correctly estimated total sales of between 140,000 and 150,000 units at the start of 2016, finishing with 146,385 new passenger vehicles sold during the year. The increase follows two consecutive years of 30 per cent annual growth, putting the total sales figures for new cars back at 2008 levels.
Commenting on the figures, Michael Rochford, managing director of Motorcheck.ie, said: “It’s been another very productive year for the Irish Motor Trade with comparable proportional increases in both the new car and light commercial vehicle sectors. But with the advent of Brexit and the weakening of sterling, used car imports grew significantly in the second half of 2016 with each of the last five months of 2016 posting increases in excess of 75 per cent on the previous year and finishing the year with just over a 50 per cent increase in imports or 72,500 imports in total.
“That’s an increase of 24,249 additional used cars imported into Ireland over and above last year. There is evidence to suggest that a lot of people who may have been waiting to purchase a new car in 2017 took advantage of the drop in sterling and opted to import a nearly-new vehicle at the end of 2016 instead.”
With used cars imported into Ireland during 2016 reaching the highest levels in 10 years, consumers are advised to be extra vigilant when making a purchase and ensure they perform a check to ensure the vehicle has not been clocked, written-off, or still under finance.
In terms of new car sales for 2016, Toyota emerged as the top selling manufacturer, just edging ahead of both Volkswagen and Hyundai on the last two days of the year, with pre-registrations of the brand new Toyota C-HR reaching 160 units for December.
Hyundai had another great year, with an increase of 34 per cent in sales and the Tucson becoming Ireland’s top selling vehicle overall.
Volkswagen was in second place despite the emissions scandal earlier in the year. However, its gains on 2015 paled in comparison to the other manufacturers in the top four, with an increase of only 1.45 per cent on last year, the others all posting increases in excess of 18.5 per cent.