As car sales figures are set to fall to their lowest levels in more than 20 years, Ford has strengthened its market position, claiming 14.5 per cent of a market which is down 62 per cent from last year.
Buoyed by sales of Focus and the new Fiesta, the blue oval finished the half year with 6,808 units, ahead of Toyota (6,482 ) and Volkswagen (4,529 ).
According to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, fewer than 47,000 cars were sold in the first six months of the year, compared with 124,000 in the first half of 2008 - a drop of 62 per ent.
Eddie Murphy, chairman and managing director of Ford Ireland, is predicting total year sales of 57,000, the lowest since 1987.
Last month’s sales were down 39 per cent on June 2008. However comparisons are distorted by the VRT change in July 2008.
“Halfway through, this is already an annus horribilis for the motor industry,” says Eddie Murphy. “Some 57,000 units will be the lowest total since 1987 and a massive drop of 95,000 sales on last year. That’s well below the viability threshold for dealers out there.
“Lack of credit and fears over employment have combined to create a market that is operating well below equilibrium. Given a car population of two million, our yearly turnover should be above 150,000 units.”
With Focus the top-selling models in the country, Ford raised its market share from 12.5 per cent to 14.per cent.
“The new Fiesta was a real bright spark on a gloomy landscape,” says Eddie Murphy, “Even in these sober times, its style lights up the showrooms, while Focus’ position as Ireland’s favourite car continues unabated.”
There were very good performances from the Toyota Avensis in second place as well as the VW Golf in fourth and Nissan Qashqai in fifth.
In the van sector, the fall-off in general business activity and the credit squeeze contributed to a 75 per cent drop in sales for the first six months of 2009. Ford was the leading provider of commercial vehicles, with a 19.2 per cent market share.