New car sales drop in January

New car sales in January this year have decreased on last year by 4.82 per cent, according to official figures released today by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.

In January 2018, 37,125 new cars were registered compared to 39,003 units in January 2017. This represents a drop of 1,878 units on last year.

Car history company Motorsheck.ie claims a large surge of some 4,500 units was registered on the last day of the month. As it often does, this gave the figures a boost as manufacturers looked to hit their targets.

Diesel numbers continue to slide

Diesel continues to slide in new car sales with a 17.15 per cent decrease (4,383 fewer units ) for the period, while petrol car sales increased by almost 12.84 per cent (1,526 more units ).

The government incentive on benefit-in-kind (BIK ) announced in the last Budget did nothing to boost the sales of all-electric powered vehicles with sales in that sector actually decreasing by 38.1 per cent. Despite this, sales in the hybrid-electric sector surged by 981 units, an increase of 73.05 per cent on last year.

Toyota leads the way in January

Toyota Ireland has kicked off 2018 as the best-selling car brand in Ireland, thanks to significant demand for its highly marketed hybrid range. Closing out January with a 11.83 per cent market share, mainly through the sale of 4,393 passenger vehicles, 48 per cent of which were hybrid.

Looking more closely at Toyota’s best-selling hybrid models, the Yaris sold 1026 units, of which 49 per cent were hybrid; the Auris sold 807 units, of which 71 per cent were hybrid; the C-HR sold 813 units, of which 77 per cent were hybrid; and the RAV4 sold 582 units of which 49 per cent were hybrid.

Despite registrations of the Hyundai Tucson being down by 266 (or -14.07 per cent ) on January last year, it retains the honour of being the top selling model in January 2018. It is followed by the Nissan Qashqai, the only model line in the top five to increase sales numbers on January 2017.

As the market leader for January, Toyota is the only marque with three models in the top 10 best registrations list – the Yaris in sixth, and big growth in sales for the C-HR in ninth and the Auris also showing a sales increase in 10th.

The biggest success story in the January 2018 new car registrations is Peugeot. It recorded the strongest performance in the Irish new car market this January, with demand having soared by a huge 71 per cent in passenger car registrations for the first month of the year. The success comes on the back of demand for the Peugeot 2008 SUV, the Peugeot 3008 SUV, crowned Irish Car of the Year 2018, and the newly launched 5008 7-seat SUV. The strong growth assured the Peugeot marque of a top 10 place in the sales league.

When going through the figures, I noticed that there is an interesting clear growth in automatic transmissions in new cars over manual versions.

Also, it is clear space utility gains more favour over traditional body types. There is a big drop in saloon and hatchback sales, with continuing growth in SUV and MPV sales.

Used imports sales soar

Used imports continued to grow with circa 9,060 units registered. That is a 20 per cent increase in January 2018 compared to the same month last year. Despite the downturn in diesel sales in the new car market, used diesel imports were up 17 per cent on last year.

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