Imported UK cars set to overtake new car sales in Ireland for the first time this year 6 months ago

Imported UK cars set to overtake new car sales in Ireland for the first time this year

Just under 100,000 imported second-hand cars were registered in Ireland in 2018.

The trend of Irish motorists importing second-hand cars from the UK has increased to the extent that the number of registrations of imported cars is expected to exceed new car sales in Ireland for the first time ever in 2019.

Figures from the latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM), published on Monday by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, indicate that car sales are continuing to decrease in Ireland, while the number of cars being imported from the UK continues to rise.

The number of imported second-hand cars registered in Ireland has risen by over 30,000 (69,381 in 2016 to 99,456 in 2018) in the last three years, with registrations up a further 4.9% to 25,906 in Q1 2019.

This, the CMM indicates, was influenced by sterling’s falling value, which made imported cars more affordable.

The figures make for worrying reading for the Exchequer and the motor industry, as tax revenues from lower sales and dealer profit margins continue to fall.

According to the CMM, there is an average shortfall of €6,000 between taxation on each new car sale (€8,500) compared to tax revenues for each imported vehicle registration (€2,500).

At its peak in 2007, before the economic crash, the new car market topped 180,000, with three times as many new cars sold as imported second-hand sales (59,255).

Since 2016, new car sales have followed a steady decline from 142,688 that year to just 127,045 in 2018, with sales down a further 12.9% in Q1 2019 to 50,861.

Overall, car registrations were flat in 2017 and 2018 at about 220,000. This is forecast to reduce further to 210,000 in 2019, from a recent high of just under 240,000 in 2007.

You can read the latest Consumer Market Monitor in full here.