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New Car Registrations down in Q1 2018

Brexit is the biggest reason new car registrations are down in the first quarter

New car registrations went down by over 5% in the first quarter of the year as the number of imports soared, new figures revealed on Tuesday. These are the latest stats from SIMI which we will be writing up about every quarter, to bring you high level insights of what is happening in the automotive industry.

From January to the end of March of 2018, 71,805 new cars were registered. This is a fall of 4,177 or 5.5% on the 75,982 cars recorded during the same period last year.There has been a 9.5% increase in imported used cars going from 23,826 imports last year to 26,116 cars. Experts are blaming the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Overall, registrations for the first quarter remain in line with projections based on the continuing impact of Brexit and the increasing volume of imported used cars.

'Diesel registrations fell sharply by 10% and made up 56.3% of the market compared to a 66.7% for the same time last year.'

The study by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) found new diesel registrations fell sharply by 10% and made up 56.3% of the market compared to a 66.7% for the same time last year.

New Light Commercial Vehicle registrations (LCV) were up 2% (3,147) on March 2017 (3,084) and year to date are up 5.4% (12,537). While New Commercial Vehicles (HGV) have declined 11.2% (271) for the month of March compared to March of 2017 and they are down 11.2% (961) year to date.

Mr Power of SIMI added: “The surge in used imports from the UK effectively means that UK used car values are directly impacting on the values of domestic second-hand car stock, and this is making the cost of change to a new car more expensive which is also serving to undermine new car sales.”

Diesel may have fallen but petrol rose in sales from 29.6% last year to 37.5%.

Alan Nolan, Director General, of SIMI commented: “The further fall in new car sales this year really couldn’t have come at a worse time from an environmental viewpoint, just as we are beginning to benefit from a wider range of Electric and Hybrid cars, at the very start of our transition to 2045 when it is projected that the entire fleet should be zero emitting. The fall in Irish used car values due to the huge increase in imported used car volumes, as a knock-on from the weakening of Sterling resulting from Brexit, has made the cost to trade-up more expensive and has slowed-down our new car sales.”

The average price of a new car is 1.9% lower for the first 3 months compared to the same period last year. The cost of motor insurance was 13.8% lower for March than the same month last year.

For Dealers this is cause for concern when it comes to achieving Distributor targets as the market is not there. There is an opportunity when it comes to Used Car Sales. Measuring the average turnover days for specific models gives Dealers the insight to know what Used Stock to add to the forecourt. Cash flow is key and nobody wants cash tied up in poor stock.