Driving Change: Carzone’s 2024 Motoring Report Explores Emerging Trends in Irish Car Market

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Carzone, Ireland’s leading motoring marketplace, has unveiled its insightful 2024 Motoring Report, shedding light on pivotal trends and shifts within the Irish car buying landscape. The 15th edition of this hallmark report merges insights from the 80 million searches conducted on Carzone in 2023 with a comprehensive survey of 1,000 motorists in Ireland, offering a barometer of current car-buying sentiments.

Since its inception, Carzone’s research has been a cornerstone for vehicle buyers and sellers, providing current insights into the dynamically evolving automotive industry. Sinead McCann of Carzone comments on the 2024 report, stating, “It offers a vivid depiction of a market in flux and the industry’s collective navigation through times of change.”

“The automotive sector is at a pivotal juncture of recovery, with our data showing a promising start to 2024 and a pathway back to pre-pandemic levels of success for a sector recently challenged by Brexit and stock shortages. This motoring report encapsulates the changing preferences of Irish consumers and how the industry can adapt to these emerging trends and expectations.”

Electric Vehicle (EV) Adoption on the Rise

A significant finding is the growing interest in electric and hybrid vehicles, with 54% of respondents now considering an EV or hybrid for their next purchase, marking a substantial increase from 35% in 2023. This surge aligns with 16% of respondents already owning hybrids or EVs, up from 10% the previous year. Nonetheless, 50% have reservations about going electric, citing infrastructure challenges, particularly the scarcity of charging points, as a major obstacle to EV adoption.

Rising Costs Impact Driving Habits

Despite a 29% increase in car purchasing budgets among respondents the cost of car ownership remains a predominant concern. 47% of respondents reported an increase in their insurance premium, significantly up from 35.9% in 2023. Fuel prices have also led to altered driving habits, with 62% reducing their driving due to fuel costs. The rising expenses have prompted more individuals to downsize their vehicle holdings this year compared to last, with 38% considering or already having reduced the number of cars in their household, which may be one of the factors that contribute towards a higher budget for a single vehicle.

Car Buying Budgets on the Rise

While the cost of living crisis prompts drivers to modify their driving habits, the results indicate a reluctance to compromise on car purchases. On average, Irish consumers replace their car every 4.84 years, spending an average of €18,000 on their last purchase, an increase of 10% from €16,370 the previous year. Savings or personal funds remain the most popular purchasing method at 43%, with a notable shift in dealer preference. In 2024, 36% preferred franchise dealers, closely mirroring the 39.5% who favoured independent dealers in 2023.

Transparency Key for Buyers

Price remains the primary concern for 66% of car buyers, emphasizing the ongoing focus on affordability in the purchasing process. The report also underlines a growing demand for transparency, with 95% of buyers preferring used cars with a full history check. Additionally, 51% plan to use car finance for their next purchase, while 43% will rely on personal savings. With escalating operational costs, 71% favour vehicles with clearly outlined monthly costs when considering finance options, a significant increase from 55% last year.

Search Data

In 2023, Carzone witnessed a significant tilt towards sustainability, with the Hyundai Kona leading the electric vehicle (EV) segment. The BMW 5 Series and Hyundai Tucson were the most searched in the Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) and Hybrid (HEV) categories, highlighting a shift towards alternative fuels. Diesel, led by the Volkswagen Golf, remains popular for its fuel efficiency. SUVs dominated, but estates made a comeback, reflecting a demand for space. Black was the preferred colour, with 2020 models being the most sought-after, indicating a balance between modern features and value. This trend underscores a market embracing innovation while valuing tradition.

Safety a Top Priority for Parents

The study reveals that 63% of participants have switched cars to accommodate a growing family, with safety being the paramount consideration, surpassing space, affordability, and fuel economy. Child safety awareness is also prominent, with 84% recognizing the directive for extended use of rear-facing car seats for children, although 45% of those informed have yet to adjust their car seating arrangements accordingly.