New car sales plunge by over 90% in Donegal due to Covid-19 crisis

Motoring sector hit extremely hard by lockdown

New car sales plunge by over 90% in Donegal due to Covid-19 crisis

New car registrations have dropped sharply

New car sales in Donegal tumbled by almost 91% last month as the coronavirus crisis really impacted on sales.

The number of new cars registered in the county last month was just 14 - compared with 152 for April 2019.

That represents a fall of 90.97% and follows a decline in the March monthly figure of 54.41%.

As a result of COVID-19 retailers' showrooms have remained closed since Mid-March, impacting heavily on sales.

The total number of new cars registrations in Donegal for the first four months of this year stands at 1,178 - down 23.80% on the figure of 1,546 for the first four months in 2019.

Interestingly, while just over 50% of new car sales in 2020 to date in Donegal were diesel, the move towards electric vehicles and hybrids continues. Electric vehicle sales were up 57% from 14 to 22, while petrol/plug-in electric hybrid models were up 128% from seven to 16.

Other figures to emerge are that over 30% of new cars registered this year in Donegal had automatic transmission while grey remains the most popular colour with 35% of the market share, followed by white/ivory at just under 20%.

Most popular

Toyota was the best selling make in Donegal for the first four months of 2020 with 156 units, just four ahead of Volkswagen (152) with Hyundai third on 134, followed by Kia (133) and Skoda on 86.

In terms of the most popular model in the county so far this year, there is a battle royal going on as the Hyundai Tucson just leads the way on 55 units, with the Kia Sportage on 54, Volkswagen Tiguan on 53 and Toyota Corolla on 51.

According to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) new car registrations nationally for April declined 96.1% (344) when compared to April 2019 (8,904).

Registrations for the year to date are down 30.7% (50,626) on the same period last year (73,030).
Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General commenting on the market figures said: “Like many other sectors of the economy, COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on the Irish Motor Industry. SIMI Members have during the course of the lockdown to date, been available to assist in emergency and essential call outs.”

He continued: “We continue to play our part in keeping vital goods and services moving. However, the registration numbers underline the lack of activity in new vehicle sales, and this is replicated for used cars and servicing. While the short-term outlook for the Irish economy is bleak, once the health situation allows the Motor Industry is ready to get back to work.

The commercial vehicle sector nationally is also feeling the impact of closures, with Light Commercials vehicles (LCV) down 87.3% (229) compared to April last year (1,799) and year to date are down 25.3% (9,603). HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) registrations are down 67.8% (98) in comparison to April 2019 (304). Year to date HGV's are down 9.9% (1,070).

Used car imports
Used car imports for April (199) saw a decrease of 97.8% on April 2019 (8,887), while year to date imports are down 50.5% (17,669) on 2019 (35,719).

Mr. Cooke added: “Members have used this downtime to implement measures, in accordance with both Industry and State guidelines, that will protect both their employees and customers against the spread of COVID-19.

“The size of dealerships and the average footfall, for both sales and servicing, lends itself to social distancing while santisation measures being put in place for both premises and vehicles, means that safety and protection are at the top of the agenda,” he said.

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