Brexit is having mixed blessings for Irish car buyers and the Irish motor industry. On the one hand, people are moving away from buying new cars because of uncertainty about the economic impact of Brexit. On the other, they are flocking to the UK to avail of the drop in Sterling to buy second-hand cars. By year's end, some motor industry experts are predicting that some 90,000 vehicles will be brought into Ireland - the vast majority from Britain and Northern Ireland. This compares to 72,000 last year.
In the first three months of this year alone there were 24,000 imports - an increase of 56 per cent over the first three months of last year.
Commenting on the drop of eight per cent in the latest monthly new car sales figures - the third straight drop in a row, Michael Rochford, Managing Director of Motorcheck.ie said: “The industry is coming off 3 years of sustained annual growth with 30% year-on-year increases becoming commonplace. This was never going to be sustained into the future and it was felt that this year would see a levelling off in sales. The dip in sales is largely down to uncertainty in the economy caused by Brexit, whilst the strength of the EURO against Sterling has made it very attractive to import used vehicles from the UK and consequently many people are opting for a nearly new import rather than a brand-new vehicle”.
Motorcheck, however, has warned that consumers need to be vigilant when considering the purchase of used imports from the UK, whether buying from a Motor Dealer in Ireland or importing the vehicle themselves. “We have seen the rates of clocked vehicles and written off vehicles increase slightly in Q1 largely due to the increase in Used Imports” said Rochford.
The latest official sales figures show car registrations for Q1 2017 decreased 8.3% (75.9k units) against Q1 2016 (82.8k units) and March 2017 sales were 7.5% down on March 2016 (19.9k units vs 21.5k units)
The top selling manufacturers were Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Nissan
The top selling models were the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai, Ford Focus, Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf