Words by Declan Glynn
Vehicle history and data expert Cartell.ie have released their findings from the latest state of the market report in conjunction with BAC Auto Consulting.
Used car sales for the first seven months of 2019 are down 4.2% including imports, and down 4.4% excluding imports.
Used car sales have fallen every month this year over the same period in 2018 except for March, where the fall in used car sales in March 2018 helped deliver a 9% increase in total used car sales in March 2019, 6.3% increase excluding imports. Total used car imports hit 22.9% of all used car sales to the end of July 2019.
This is up from 21.9% of all used car sales in 2018.
The figure of 22.9% constitutes a record since Cartell has started recording this figure. This increase of imports impacting used car sales is expected to continue whilst the UK border stays open and the euro remains strong against the pound.
The report states: “While the issue of an open or closed border between Ireland and the UK is seen as the biggest issue facing Brexit, there is some irony that a closed border could actually be a good thing for parts of Ireland’s automotive industry, according to the latest data from Cartell.ie Carstat database.
Back in 2013, with a relatively strong euro against the British pound imports were flooding in at a rate of two for every three new cars sold.
The collapse of the Euro in 2015 saw this drop to a ratio of 1:3 before rising again to a record of almost four imports for every five new cars sold in 2018.
However, the UK stumbling over Brexit saw UK businesses stockpiling in the run-up to the original March 2019 Brexit data which boosted UK GDP growth and strengthened the pound against the euro.”
Despite the pound weakening since March, total imports remain 5.4% down over the first six months of last year.
The UK car market fell by 4.3% for the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year.
Both markets are also seeing the introduction of the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test.
This could see some UK dealers and manufacturers pushing new car sales in the run-up to September to clear out stock before the new regulations are mandated and to recover some lost sales.
The political brinkmanship over Brexit could also keep the pound weak adding to the attractiveness of importing.