The number of new cars registered in Ireland last month went up when compared to the same month in the previous year, according to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).
The SIMI said that April's new car registrations rose 10.8% (8,923) when compared to April 2018 (8,053), while new cars registrations for the year to date are at 8.5% (73,044) down on the same period last year (79,813).
New Light Commercial Vehicle registrations (LCV) were slightly up 1.12% (1,812) on April 2018 (1,792) and year to date are down 9.95% (12,892), while New Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HGV) have increased 27.27% for the month of April (308) compared to the same month last year (242) and are up 3.11% (1,194) year to date.
Imported Used Cars increased by 2.8% for April 2019 (8,886) when compared to April 2018 (8,644) and year to date are 2.75% (35,717) ahead of 2018 (34,761)
The SIMI report shows that while the Irish economy is still positive, both new cars and commercial registrations declined in the first three months of 2019 with the exception of electric cars and used car imports.
The society pinpointed Brexit uncertainty, greater consumer caution and the ongoing growth of used imports as threats to new car sales. They also added that the increase in the VRT on new cars is another contributing factor, saying it arises from the fact that no allowance was made by the authorities for the first step in the move to the new WLTP testing regime.
Brian Cooke Director General, SIMI said: “This rise in new car registrations for the month of April is, in reality, a timing issue.
"Easter is a key period for car-hire business and with it falling later than usual in 2019, this pushed some car-hire that normally occurs in March into April".
The real indication of the new car market environment is the year to date figures, which show a nearly 11% decrease on last year. The outlook for the remainder of the year is still very uncertain for the Industry.
"Looking forward to 2020, with the next phase of the WLTP Testing due for implementation, it is vital for the Industry that any changes to taxation systems are flagged well in advance of their implementation date to allow the Industry plan their businesses in a normal and effective manner”.
The SIMI report also highlights that the average price of a new car in Q1 2019 was 0.7% higher than a year earlier, while the cost of motor insurance in March 2019 was 5.9% lower than it was a year earlier, meaning motor insurance has declined by 23.8% since July 2016.
They also found that the cost of fuel went up in March 2019 with petrol prices 0.2% higher and diesel prices 5.5% higher than a year earlier.
The new cars sales also show a move away from diesel to petrol in Q1, 2019, with new diesel registrations accounting for 48.27% of the market - a decline from 56.27% on quarter one last year.
Petrol accounted for 40.83% of the total, up from 37.51% on Q1 of 2018. Average CO2 emissions for new cars sold were 1.5% higher in the first quarter of 2019 when compared to a year earlier.