Nissan calls for ban on ‘dirty diesel’ used car imports

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As the number of second hand UK registered cars being brought into the country continues to rise, Nissan Ireland has called on the Irish Government to ban used car imports if it is serious about addressing rising CO2 figures.

“The Government will never meet its target of reducing carbon emissions without introducing a ban on the importation of used cars from the U.K. which do not meet the current Euro 6 emissions standard in place in Ireland,” said James McCarthy, CEO of Nissan Ireland.

Mr. McCarthy was reacting to confirmation from the Minister for Climate Action and Environment that the Government’s plan to cut carbon emissions is not working and to figures from the Environmental Protection Agency which show that Ireland is locked into a trend of rising CO2 emissions.

Figures for the month of August have shown an increase of 4.4% in used car imports while overall year to date nearly 69,000 cars have been imported this year, up 10.7% compared to 2017.

New car registrations year to date are down 3.8% at 119,937 units compared to 124,651 units  over the same period last year. Nissan estimates that imports are displacing up to 50,000 new car sales in the current year, and highlights that apart from the emissions issue, this is resulting in a loss of €300,000,000 to the Irish exchequer with each used car import generating just €2,500 in taxes compared to approximately €8,500 for each new vehicle sold. This loss is set to rise to €400,000,000 in 2019.

Mr. McCarthy said that the Government is moving further and further away from achieving its emissions targets. “Over 100,000 used cars will be imported into Ireland in 2018.  About 80,000 of these cars are ‘dirty diesels’ that do not meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards. However, a loophole in the law allows these cars be sold and put onto Irish roads because they were first registered in the U.K.,” he said.

“We are currently importing nearly 100 of these polluting cars for every electric vehicle (EV) sold. This is seriously undermining the Government’s electro-mobility strategy,” Mr. McCarthy added.

With continued uncertainty over Brexit and weak Sterling rates, Nissan expects the number of used car imports to rise to 120,000 in 2019, exacerbating the challenge to Government to cut carbon emissions.