Belfast Telegraph

More buyers in Republic opt for used UK vehicles

By Shawn Pogatchnik

Car buyers in the Republic are increasingly going for cheaper used UK imports rather than showroom models, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry warned yesterday as new figures showed a July slump in sales.

The latest figures are particularly striking as showrooms typically do strong business in July as customers seek vehicles with the brand-new '2' plates signifying the second half of the year.

But in its monthly Motor Industry Statistics report, the society said sales of new cars last month totalled 24,685, down 8.4% from July 2018.

Imports of used UK cars simultaneously rose 16% to 9,384 - representing 27.5% of all cars newly registered last month on Irish roads.

"The 192-registration period is generally a period of upturn for new vehicle sales, however July has replicated the first six months of the year and proved a disappointing month for new cars," said Brian Cooke, the society's director general.

"While Brexit is clearly a factor in this increase, Ireland's taxation system overburdens new cars, causing motorists either to hang on to their older, smokier cars or look to the UK for an older import.

"Over the last three years we have imported 150,000 cars that do not meet the latest EU emission standards, which in effect means Ireland has become the dumping ground for older cars the UK doesn't want."

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Mr Cooke called on the Irish Government in Budget 2020 "to redress the balance by implementing taxation changes that encourage the sale of new cars and to focus any taxation increases on older used imports".

The Republic's Vehicle Registration Tax is among the highest in Europe, adding 14% to 36% to the market price of a new or imported used car, with higher rates imposed on cars with higher CO2 emissions.

Belfast Telegraph