Sale of new vehicles in Wexford show big improvement
New car sales in Wexford were up 29 per cent last month when compared to January 2015.
This is welcome news for the county after it recorded the lowest national growth rate last year with a growth rate of 15.3 per cent.
The latest figures from the final SIMI/DoneDeal quarterly Motor Industry Review show that last year Wexford car dealers sold 2,965 new cars, an increase of 15.3 per cent from the 2014 figure of 2,571.
Roscommon which was the only other county to record a growth rate of less than 20 per cent had a growth rate of 18 per cent, an increase of 167 from 927 in 2014 to 1,067 in 2015.
Most of the other counties recorded very significant growth rates in excess of 25 per cent while some had increases of 40 per cent and over including neighbouring county Wicklow. Kilkenny recorded a growth of 24.9 per cent, Carlow 22.7 per cent and Waterford 24.1 per cent.
A growth rate of 15.3 per cent in 2015 means that Wexford new car sales account for just 2.37 per cent of the total new car market last year. Unsurprisingly Dublin came out on top with a market share of 40.68 per cent followed by Cork on 12.25 per cent.
Minister Brendan Howlin launched the SIMI/DonDeal review at County Buildings last week. It was attended by a large number of Wexford car dealers as well as President of the SIMI Mark Boggan of Boggan's Toyota dealers.
The January 2016 new car sales showed a significant improvement in Wexford with a total of 1,074 new cars sold in the county last month, an increase of 245 cars compared with January 2015. This is a jump of 29.55 per cent which keeps it in the bottom ten counties in the country but out of the bottom five.
Despite the substantial growth compared to January 2015 Wexford's share of the new car market actually decreased this year from 2.78 per cent in January 2015 to 2.7 per cent in January 2016.
When it comes to dealer imported used car registrations for 2015 there were a total of 506 in the county a drop of 40 per cent from the 2014 figure of 847. This is a trend that is mirrored right around the country with a few notable exceptions in counties Carlow, Cavan, Donegal, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Mayo, Monaghan, Sligo and Wicklow, many of which are on the border with Northern Ireland which goes in some way to explain the high number of imported cars.
Speaking at the launch of the report economist Jim Power who wrote the report said: 'Imported used cars peaked (nationally) at 63,559 in 2008 and has subsequently trended in a downward direction. In 2015 47,798 used cars were imported into the country which represented a decline of almost 11 per cent on the previous years and is almost 25 per cent below the peak in 2008.
'The growth in new car sales and the appreciation of over 6 per cent in the value of sterling against the euro during 2015 have contributed to the decline in the significance of imported used cars.
There was a growth of 16 per cent last year in the sale of used trade cars to other dealers rising from 3,301 in 2014 to 3,923 in 2015. Similarly there was an increase in the sale of used retail cars to consumers rising from 5,732 in 2014, to 6,415 in 2015, an increase of 12 per cent.
The figures show that Wexford car dealers sold a total of 10,844 used cars last year, a jump of 10 per cent compared to 9,880 in 2014. New and used car sales combined increased from 12,451 to 13,809, an increase of 10 per cent.
The majority of these 13,809 car sales saw customers trading in a different car. The report shows that a total of 9,625 cars were accepted by traders as a trade-in. This is an increase of 14 per cent or 1,183 cars from 2014.
Mr Power said that last year new car sales were driven by improved confidence as well as the ongoing improvement in employment and earnings and a functioning credit model.
'In addition, there is a significant level of catch-up after a dramatic decline in car sales from 2008 onwards.
'Car buyers who are faced with an ageing car are moving to buy a new car before the cap between the value of their existing car and a new car becomes too difficult to bridge.'
Sales of new Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) in Wexford also showed an improvement this year rising from 137 in January 2015 to 195 in January 2016. This represents a growth of 42.34 per cent and gave Wexford a market share of 2.97 per cent this January compared to 2.79 per cent in January 2015. This puts Wexford in the top ten counties when it comes of sales of new LCVs this January.
Likewise the sales of new Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCVs) in Wexford shot up in January of this year increasing almost three fold. In January 2015 there were eleven new HCVs sold in the county but this increased to 27 in January of this year.
This represents an increase of 145.45 per cent and gave Wexford a market share of the HCV market share of 5.49 per cent in January 2016 compared with 5.34 per cent for the same period last year. This puts Wexford in the top ten counties when it comes to sales of HCVs so far this year.
Mr Power said the 'strong pick up in business confidence and business investment spending in 2015 made a very strong contribution to the increasingly broad-based economic recovery. This improvement in business investment spending manifested itself in strong growth in commercial vehicle sales.'
'Looking ahead to 2016, new car registrations, which have started the year strongly, should be capable of expanding by at least 22 per cent, giving total sales of 152,500.'