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Online car sales take off as Derry dealer offers all-Ireland delivery

A Londonderry car dealer is offering free delivery of his vehicle range to anywhere in Ireland, as the collapse of sterling sends shockwaves through the industry.

Garrett Mallon, the managing director of Desmond Motors, says many of his new customers south of the border have never even been to Derry - they're grabbing bargains online.

Sales of nearly-new cars have surged since the Brexit vote, with bargain-hunters in the Republic among his best customers.

Motorists can save up to €7,000 (£6,300) on cars over six months old - and that's after paying the Republic's Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT).

The rise of the euro against the pound means motorists south of the border can get vehicles at vastly reduced prices - vehicles which often come with a higher specification on basic models.

Last Tuesday, Desmond Motors delivered three cars to customers in Galway who bought them online.

The Derry company even takes RoI-registered vehicles in part exchange.

"We've been dealing with fluctuations in currency for 35 years," said Garrett. "So we're experienced in the market. The difference between what happened in 2010 when the currencies last converged and now is that a lot of our cars are being bought online.

"We've also introduced free delivery to anywhere in Ireland and we also now take southern-registered cars as trade-ins.

"We were selling maybe three or four cars per week to southern Ireland motorists earlier in the year, but within days of the Brexit vote there was this surge and now we're selling four or five cars every day.

"We're delivering cars all over the country. This week we've delivered to Galway, Cork, Carlow, Dublin and all of the border counties," added Garrett.

One car sold this week was a 2013 Ford Galaxy Zetec 2.0 tdci which had 50,000 miles on the clock.

With the exchange rate and VRT, the cost to the customer was €19,130 (£17,255), a saving of between €4,000 (£3,608) and €6,000 (£5,412).

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