NEW CAR sales rose slightly in Kilkenny last month on the figures for the previous July – but the figures remain well below the national percentage increase.
Nationally, car sales were 352 units (9%) up in July this year (4,431) compared to July last year (4,079). In Kilkenny, the increase was a more modest 3%.
The July increase belies the overall market reality, however. Sales over the first seven months of the year are down 10,093 units (-12%) to 71,065 compared to last year (81,158). This remains in line with the SIMI’s predictions – and the full year forecast of less than 80,000 units sold remains.
Kilkenny has felt the impact. At the end of June, the Barry Pender Motors Ltd Ford dealership on the Dublin Road closed its doors, holding an unreserved auction in the following days.
Alan Nolan, director general of SIMI says that the current level of sales is being driven by the industry seeking to prolong the selling season, and that car buyers are continuing to benefit from this.
“This modest increase in July, compared to post-scrappage trading in July last year, needs to be put in the context of a market at relatively low levels overall,” he said.
“The current level of marketing activity and special offers from the Industry clearly underlines the challenge of seasonality in the sector which we have to work very hard to overcome. Up to 70% of new cars are sold in the first four months of the year so sales activity for the remainder of the year would be extremely low if the industry did not continue to work at delivering strong value offers to potential buyers to drive further sales, particularly during the summer months.
“The hugely disruptive impact of seasonality is one of the most serious challenges facing the motor industry which is exacerbated in a period of economic downturn. A change to the registration system to provide for two distinct registration periods per year (January to June and July to December), would address this problem and protect jobs and businesses by spreading sales more evenly through the year. It would also benefit car buyers who purchase later in the year by more clearly identifying these cars for valuation purposes.”