It comes as no surprise new car registrations for March were down by 63 per cent (6,174 ) when compared to March 2019 (16,687 ).
According to The Society of the Irish Motor Industry's new vehicle statistics, registrations year to date are also down by 20.5 per cent (51,015 ) on the same period last year (64,126 ).
Electric vehicle sales year to date (2020 ) were 1,667 v (2019 ) 1,435, which is up by 16.17 per cent. In March (2020 ), EV sales were 379 v (2019 ) 311, which was up 21.86 per cent.
The top five selling car brands so far in 2020 were: 1. Toyota; 2. Volkswagen; 3. Hyundai; 4. Skoda; and 5. Ford. The five top car models in the first quarter of this year were 1. Toyota Corolla; 2. Hyundai Tucson; 3. Volkswagen Tiguan; 4. Ford Focus; and 5. Skoda Octavia. The top selling car this March was the Toyota Corolla.
Market share by engine type so far in 2020 was: Diesel 43.86 per cent; Petrol 38.42 per cent; Hybrid 12.17 per cent; Electric 3.27 per cent; and Plug-In Hybrid 2.02 per cent.
Used car imports for March (4,656 ) have seen a decrease of 48.1 per cent on March 2019 (8,970 ). Meanwhile year to date imports are down 34.9 per cent (17,471 ) on 2019 (26,832 ).
Commercial Sales Light Commercials vehicles (LCV ) are also down by 52.9 per cent (1,434 ) compared to March last year (3,044 ) and year to date are down 15.2 per cent (9,378 ).
The Continental Irish Van of the Year 2020, the Peugeot Partner van, was Ireland’s best-selling van to date in 2020 and captured an 8.2 per cent share of the critical first quarter market.
HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle ) registrations are up 17.67 per cent (313 ) in comparison to March 2019 (266 ). Year to date HGV's are up 12.59 per cent (993 ). This reflects higher demand from the food distribution industry in particular.
Brian Cooke, SIMI director general, says the health of our nation is the overriding priority.
"The motor industry will assist the State in any way we can during this pandemic. While showrooms, service and other activities within the industry are closed, members are available to assist in emergency call-out or delivery services. This will be vital in keeping essential and emergency services moving," he says.
"The motor industry and its employees, like so many industries, is feeling the devastating impact of Covid-19. Even before the crisis commenced, the new car market was in decline, and this fall has accelerated rapidly in the last fortnight with new car activity down nearly two-thirds on last year. Whatever the duration of this crisis, once we emerge, we will need to see decisive and ambitious action from Government to protect the nearly 50,000 jobs in our sector.”