The Hyundai Tucson was the best selling car in Ireland last month. Car registrations so far this year are up on 2020 but down on pre-Covid 2019.

Positives and negatives taken from new car registration figures

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) is reporting both positive and negative news in the motoring sector so far this year.

Releasing their official new vehicle statistics for April today, the organisation said that while new cars sales to the end of last have now overtaken sales for the same period last year, they are still over 24% behind pre-Covid times.

To present a more accurate picture of the new vehicle registrations, SIMI said it is important to compare registrations totals with the same period in 2019 (pre-Covid), when businesses were fully operational.

Last month, there were 7,166 new car registrations compared to 343 in April 2020 and 8,904 in April 2019. Year to day, 55,207 new cars have been registered compared to 50,138 for the same period in 2020 (+10.11) and 73,030 in 2019 (-24.41%).

Light commercials vehicles (LCV) have seen an increase of 2,385 registrations compared to April last year (231) and 1,798 for the same month in 2019. Year to date, 13,722 new LCVs were registered, an increase on last year’s 9,500 (+44.4%) and 12,853 on 2019 (+6.67%).

There were 325 heavy goods vehicles (HGV) registrations in April compared to 96 in April 2020 and 305 in April 2019. Year to date, HGV registrations total 1,223 compared with 1,004 in 2020 (+21.81%) and 1,189 in 2019 (+2.86%).

Last month, 5,676 used cars were imported compared with 200 imports in April 2020. The figure is a decrease on the 8,887 imports in April 2019, and year to date used imports are up 36.4% (24,095) on 2020 (17,666) and down 32.54% on 2019 (35,719).

For the month of April, 596 new electric vehicles were registered compared to 50 in April 2020. So far this year 3,414 new electric cars have been registered in comparison to 1,700 on the same period in 2020.

Electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hybrids continue to increase their market share. Combined, they command a market share of over 22.61%. Diesel now accounts for 36.86%, petrol 32.06%, hybrid 16.66%, electric 6.18% and plug-in hybrid 5.95%

In Mayo, year to date there have been 1,014 new car registrations compared to 996 last year, an increase of 1.81%.

Brian Cooke, SIMI director general, commented: “The investment in online selling platforms over the last year and the ability to offer a click and deliver service to car buyers has been a lifeline to the industry during this difficult time.”

He added: “The phased re-opening of showrooms announced by government last week has been welcomed by the industry, and retailers are cautiously optimistic about car sales, both new and used, in the weeks and months ahead. It is hoped that pent-up demand allied with the increase in personal savings will see customers returning to showrooms.

“It should be underlined that car retailing operates in large open spaces, and with low footfall and the ability to social distance well beyond the recommended two metres, showrooms are a safe environment for customers.”

The top five selling car brands in April this year were: Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Skoda and Ford. The top five car selling models last month were: Hyundai Tucson, Toyota Corolla, Toyota RAV4, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Tiguan.

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