Figures just released by the SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry ) for vehicle sales for the first quarter of this year show that new car sales are up by 26.59 per cent on last year. At almost 49,960 (v 39,466 in Q1 2013 ) cars sold, the first quarter of this year has outperformed all other periods since 2008.
Sales in March are up 23 per cent on the same period last year, reflecting a continuation of the consumer confidence that has been apparent since the start of the year. The commercial vehicle market is also positive, with light commercial/van sales up 43 per cent this quarter and up 45 per cent in March alone. Heavy commercial/ truck sales are up 40 per cent so far this year and 31 per cent in March alone.
The top three selling models in the first quarter were the were the Volkswagen Golf (2,491 ), the Nissan Qashqai (2,057 ) and Ford Focus (2,046 ), the next in line being the Skoda Octavia (1,614 ).
The Nissan Qashqai was the biggest selling car in March, with a massive 1,060 units sold. The best selling van was the Ford Transit.
Alan Nolan, SIMI director general, said: “Vehicle sales for the first quarter of 2014 remain significantly ahead of last year. Already we have registered over two thirds of total car sales for last year. We are clearly starting from a low base but the most notable point has been the return of retail consumers to the marketplace and that can be seen both in showrooms and in the number of 141 cars visible outside homes, schools and shops. This has been significantly assisted by the improved availability of retail finance from the finance houses who are strongly supporting the recovery in the market.”