As had been flagged throughout the year, new car sales in Ireland in 2017 fell by 10% relative to the previous 12 months. A total of 131,356 new cars were registered in the past year compared to 146,649 in 2016.
However the number of overall new registrations in 2017 was actually up if imports are taken into consideration. There was a very significant 30% jump in used cars imported into Ireland in 2017, with a total of 93,454 vehicles brought in compared to 72,153 in 2016.
Commenting on the figures SIMI Director General, Alan Nolan stated: “2017 was a very challenging year for the Motor Industry, mainly due to the impact of Brexit on Euro/Sterling exchange rates. Without Brexit we would have anticipated a reasonable level of growth in the market but in the aftermath of the UK Brexit vote we had modified our projection to 132,000 and that prediction turned out to be very accurate with the car market finishing at 131,356. This number is still better than most recent years and produced reasonable volumes across all vehicle sales sectors.
Volkswagen ended the year as the best selling brand ahead of Toyota, Ford, Hyundai and Nissan, but Hyundai claimed the honours for Ireland’s most popular car for the second year running, heading off the challenges of the Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Octavia and Ford Focus. Crossovers proved to be the most popular type of vehicle, taking over 28% of the entire market, up 1.6% year on year.
The other significant trend of the year was the move away from diesel cars. With 85,685 units sold, it remains the most popular fuel for Irish buyers, but sales were down 16.6% on 2016. Petrol sales remained flat volume wise, but up nearly 3% percentage wise in a diminishing market. Sales of hybrids jumped 72.8% to 4,434 units, while 622 electric cars were sold, an increase of 58.6%.