The number of new cars registered in Donegal for the first eight months of the year rose by 17.75% as the motoring industry showed further signs of bouncing back from the challenges posed by Covid.
The number of new vehicles registered in Donegal from January to August 2021 stood at 2,256, up from 1,916 in 2020.
Nationally, there were 6,013 new cars registrations for August compared to 4,808 in August 2020 (+25.1%) and 5,088 in August 2019 (+18.2%).
The figures were published by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).
While the numbers are up on last year, the 2020 figures were distorted by the impact of Covid so comparisons of registration totals with the same period in 2019 (pre-Covid) when businesses were fully operational give a better overall picture.
A total of 5,088 used cars were imported in August 2021, compared with 8,141 imports in August 2020, a decrease on the 9,706 imports in August 2019. Year to date used imports are up 16.4% (46,185) on 2020 (39,668) and down 36.0% on 2019 (72,214).
The figures also showed that 831 new electric vehicles registered were in August compared to 294 in August 2020. So far this year 7,057 new electric cars have been registered in comparison to 2,954 on the same period 2020. Electric Vehicle, Plug-in Hybrids and Hybrids continue to increase their market share, with their combined market share now over 30.76%. Diesel now accounts for 34.09%, Petrol 32.5%, Hybrid 16.32%, Electric 7.33% and Plug-in Electric Hybrid 7.11%.
Commenting Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General said: “The appetite among consumers for new cars, boosted by pent-up demand and strong consumer savings, that was in evidence in July has continued into August. New car sales are up 25% on the same month last year and by 22% year to date.
“However, these numbers must be viewed in the context of the pre-COVID market, and registrations are still lagging 18% behind 2019. The new car market has in recent years been hampered not only by the pandemic, but also by Brexit related issues, and this has seen several years of a weakened new car market.
“What is positive is that those businesses and consumers who have been buying new cars are choosing lower emitting vehicles across all fuel types.
“In particular there has been a significant uplift in the sale of new electric cars since the start of this year. As we move into a post pandemic economic environment, it is vital that the momentum behind this drive to lower emissions is maintained and built upon. In this context, it is important that both the Government and the Motor Industry deliver affordable transport options to give consumers the real choice to make positive environmental decisions.
“For the Industry this means continued investment in driving down emissions from the vehicles they produce.
“For Government, any budgetary measures in relation to new cars must support a strong new car market that focuses on lower emitting vehicles, and also on getting older higher emitting vehicles off the road. We need integrated incentives to build consumer confidence and encourage behavioural change across both the new and used vehicle markets.
He hopes that the next budget will encourage consumers and businesses to trade up to a lower emitting vehicle.
“The electric vehicle grants, the zero percent Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) for company cars and other incentives are vital supports to increase the sales of EVs and these need to be extended. While State and commercial investment in a nationwide EV charging infrastructure is key to giving motorist more confidence in the essential strategic EV project,” he said.
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