Alan Nolan, Director General of SIMI: "The market in 2013 has been very difficult for the new car sales market with year to date registrations down 7% on 2012, which was already 12% down on 2011.

"The introduction of the new 132 registration plate in July has been the one bright spot in a very poor year, the second registration period having improved this year’s performance from 15% down at the end of May to 7% down at the end of September. The new dual registration plate system helped to make the most of the very low retail market this year and will continue to benefit the Industry and consumers in the future.

"However, there is no concealing the fact that 2013 has been the second worst year since the recession started. After 2009, with 59,000 new car registrations, this has actually been the worst year since 1993. It is in this context that the Industry is asking the Government to consider introducing a ‘Swappage’ incentive (€2,000 VRT refund on new car purchase if trading a six year old car or older) in this month’s Budget.

"Such a scheme, as with Scrappage, will have no cost to the State, indeed it should deliver an additional €80 million in VRT and VAT in addition to supporting some 2,200 extra jobs in towns right across the country. The additional jobs are worth an additional €50 million to the Exchequer. In 2008, the Exchequer collected €2 billion in VRT and VAT from new car sales. This year it will collect around €600 million. Swappage will help commence a return to increased revenues as well as protecting and increasing the 36,800 jobs currently in the Motor Industry."

Volkswagen was once again the number-one selling car brand in September, claiming almost 12%, thanks in particular to strong sales of the Volkswagen Golf, which remains Ireland’s best-selling car. Volkswagen remains the top-selling brand in Ireland Year-to-Date with 12.67% market share.