The latest range of cars and driving technology on display at the largest Dublin Motor Show yet.
The biggest Dublin Motor Show to date has devoted 110,000 feet to exhibition space at the RDS. There are 382 stands to launch 50 new models in Ireland.
This year the Renault stand will attract a lot of attention with the world launch of the Renault 25 simultaneously in Dublin and Geneva. The car is currently under cover until the Geneva show opens in a few days. However, a sneak preview comes with a promotional video from Renault. The top of the range new Renault should be available to buy in Ireland in early summer costing between £15,500 and £20,000. The car features an onboard computer fitted with an English language speech synthesizer.
It is a car most of us will look at but few of us will buy.
Also on display at the Motor Show is the Mazda 626, which won the Japanese car of the year award. While it doesn't speak to you like the Renault, it does play music to you when you leave the door open with the key in the ignition.
The Fiat Regata is being launched in Ireland ahead of the UK launch, ranges in price from just under £9,500 to £10,500. There is an energy saving version, the Regata ES, which automatically cuts the engine when the car is idle at traffic lights. According to official figures, it decreases fuel consumption by six and a half miles per gallon.
A diesel version of the Citroen BX is also launched in Ireland.
The new Nissan Bluebird is also getting its European launch and will be available for sale in Ireland in April at a price of around £9,000.
Leo Keogh, Secretary of the Society of Irish Motorists, says that the Motor Show comes at a time when the car industry badly needs a boost attracting around a hundred thousand people to the RDS and driving potential sales.
I think the Motor Show will be a great morale booster for the industry.
The average ownership of cars in the European Community is around 23 cars per thousand of the population. However, in Ireland, car ownership is much lower at around 15 per thousand.
The industry will be using every possible opportunity to promote and sell cars throughout the Motor Show.
That reputed link in the male mind between lovely girls and lovely cars will be exploited to the full.
This year's Motor Show even has a Ladies Day on the 29 February, the one day of the year they say that a girl can ask for a man's hand in marriage.
The top five selling cars in Ireland in 1983 were:
5. Ford Escort, the world's best selling car
4. Ford Sierra, voted Ireland's car of the year in 1983
3. Opel Kadett, conjuring up images of German efficiency
2. Toyota Corolla, the latest model with front wheel drive and a five speed gear box
1. Ford Fiesta, at the top in Ireland
Ford cars have always been popular in Ireland, now with three cars in the Top Five.
Paddy Hayes, Ford Company Chairman in Ireland, is confident that Ford can remain market leaders, even though they are closing their assembly work in Cork.
We are closing down the assembly plant but we're going to be as strong as ever.
When Ford closes in Cork, there will be only two car assembly plants left in Ireland, Mazda in Dublin and Renault in Wexford. However, their future too is in doubt.
Leo Keogh says that it is not economically viable to assemble cars in Ireland.
Between import tax and VAT, about 44% of the selling price of a car in Ireland goes to the government. As sales are low, the industry is looking for lower import duty.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 February 1984. The reporter is Alasdair Jackson.