Five hundred and thirty seven people bought cars in Donegal in January this year. The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has released the January car sales figures which show a 1.5 per cent increase on last year. January is crucial period for the motor industry as 50 per cent of new car sales occur in the first quarter of each year.
There were 21,313 new cars sold in January, an increase of 314 on January 2011 (20,999). 3,057 of which were bought under the Government Scrappage Scheme which ended last June. Donegal ranked in eleventh place nationally in relation to car purchase followed closely by Louth and preceeded by Kerry.
A spokesperson from SIMI said: “Despite the strong start we are still fairly cautious about the outlook for the year, predicting a fall of around 15 per cent in new car sales for the full year which would deliver a market in the region of 76,000 new car sales for 2012.”
Speaking to garages on a daily basis, it’s clear that footfall is down on last January and of course, some 16,000 cars were sold on Scrappage last year which we don’t have this year. That said, we have to be positive about the start and the Commercial Vehicle Sector has also started well with *HGV (64% up) and LCV (17%) sales both up on last year.”
In the Budget, the Government announced a review of VRT and Road Tax for implementation in 2013.
“We very much welcome the process whereby we can make submissions on this review, however, history has taught us that ‘review’ unfortunately often means ‘increase. The tax taken from new cars has dropped significantly over recent years so we understand the Government’s desire to safeguard its tax revenues. While part of the fall is due to reducing prices and the shift by consumers to lower-emitting new cars, the biggest fall has been because of the market reduction from 186,000 in 2008 to just short of 90,000 last year. A fall to 75,000 this year will result in a further reduction of €100 million in VAT & VRT receipts. In the current market, it is very clear that any potential increase in taxation will simply result in fewer cars sold, which impacts directly on jobs. We would hope that the current review will result in a balanced approach that focuses on the critical issue of maintaining jobs,” he said.