Car sales expected to pick up a gear as optimism returns

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

CAR DEALERS in Limerick are hoping sales will move up a gear in 2013, after sales in Limerick dropped by 16% last year.

CAR DEALERS in Limerick are hoping sales will move up a gear in 2013, after sales in Limerick dropped by 16% last year.

Car sales in Limerick amounted to just 2,736 sales last year, averaging around 228 per month.

Motor dealer Frank Hogan on the Dublin Road said he’s “reasonably optimistic that the market will hopefully buck the trend, which has been suggested for this coming year.”

“We’re running on par with last year, in the very early days of the new year in terms of orders taken.

“Whether we like it or not, people do have to change cars, and cars are a very necessary part of our way of living in this country. We don’t have services in this country that you have to other levels in other countries. It’s something you can’t continually ignore.”

However, he noted that demand for “very top end” cars, traditionally in the €80,000 to €100,000 price bracket, has “unfortunately dropped very significantly”.

Cars priced in the region of mid €30,000 to €50,000 represent the new “top end of the market”, he said.

Pete McDonagh, of Dennehy Motors on the Dock Road, said considering that they opened in November 2011 figures have been good, although he said the footfall is slower than they hoped for the new year.

The Society of the Irish Motor Society is also hopeful that new measures introduced to the market could have a beneficial effect. Now, all new cars bought in Ireland will have a new number plate, and instead of 13-D, for example, the new number plate will be 131-D.

Alan Nolan, director general of SIMI, said it is too early to tell how new car sales are doing but said “there certainly has been a lot of interest from the public in the new number plate.

“Only time will tell what impact the new plate might have on sales but we expect demand to increase when we begin to see new cars on the road.” This new format plate will be in place each year from now on.

Figures released from the SIMI show that nationally car sales are down 12% on 2011 at 79,498. “Last year, customers were incentivised to purchase their new car in December in order to avail of the lower VAT rate (VAT was increased in the last Budget) so this would certainly have impacted on the reduction in sales in December.”