SIMI chief Alan Nolan
With car sales across the country affected by the slight downturn for the start of 2017, every county has seen a decrease in new cars sales in the first quarter, including Kilkenny.
The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) in association with DoneDeal have issued their first quarterly motor industry review for 2017.
The SIMI/DoneDeal Report highlights the challenging and uncertain year that the industry has faced with new car sales (-8%) and commercial vehicle sales (LGV’s -11 and HGV’s -3%) both reporting a decline in the first quarter despite the Irish economic prospects looking better than at the beginning of the year.
Car sales in the county have decreased by 13.1% in the first three months of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016.
There were 1,490 new cars registered in the first quarter this year with 1,714 cars registered for the first quarter last year.
Alan Nolan SIMI said Brexit continues to play a role in the uncertainty.
"The decline in new car sales has been a nationwide trend in the first quarter of 2017 and the motor industry in Kilkenny is no different," he insisted.
"Used car imports increased by 56% while LCV imports were up 53% on the first quarter of 2016. Used car imports are primarily between three and five years old (49%), reflecting the shortage of second hand cars during the registration period 2009 to 2013 and the over six years age group (37%).
"While the number of imports nearly new are relatively low (9% up to 2 years old), overall the volume of imports is impacting even if indirectly on the new car market. It is still shaping up to be a good year even if down on last year’s strong quarter 1 performance, and while the market is difficult to predict, the second quarter of 2017 will hopefully give us a clearer picture.”
The SIMI/DoneDeal Review outlined that the cost of motoring in 2017 which has seen an increase in petrol +14.3% and diesel prices +18.7% (March 2017 v March 2016).
Although motor insurance costs have seen a reduction of 6.1% from July 2016 to March 2017 over the full year March 2016 to March 2017, motor insurance still shows an overall increase of 0.7%.
Jim Power Economist and author of the Review said consumer behaviour remains relatively cautious.
"Personal expenditure on big ticket items such as cars is being undermined by the ongoing upward pressure on the price of necessities such as motor and home insurance, private rents, private health insurance and housing," he explained.
"Based on sales so far in 2017, it is possible that registrations for the full year could be 10% down on 2016. This would imply a total of around 132,000, but it has to be stressed that the market is not very predictable at the moment.”