Car sales down by more than 27 per cent in Westmeath

The Covid-19 pandemic lockdown has dramatically affected the number of new cars registered in Westmeath this year to date, according to SIMI – the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.

Motor dealers have witnessed a fall-off in sales of 27.18%.

In numerical terms, there were 777 cars registered in Westmeath compared to 1,067 in the same period last year.

The SIMI figures show that nationally, new car registrations for the month of June declined 28.2% (1,011) when compared to June 2019 (1,408). New car registrations year to date are down 34.5% (52,891) on the same period last year (80,758).

Used car imports for June (4,264) saw a decrease of 47.1% on June 2019 (8,060), while year to date imports are down 57.1% (22,789) on 2019 (53,126).

Commenting on the registration figures Brian Cooke, SIMI director general, said that while it has been a difficult year to date, the new 202-registration period commenced on Wednesday last, July 1, which brings some hope for the industry by providing an opportunity to increase sales.

“Consumers can see already the hugely varied and attractive new car offers,” he said.

On the negative side, the lack of car hire and the ongoing concerns surrounding Covid-19 will see continuing downward pressure on new car demand, Mr Cooke said, adding that recovery for the sector will be extremely challenging as both new car and commercial vehicle registrations are at recession levels.

“Extension of government supports beyond the current expiry dates will play an important role across all sectors, while for the motor industry changes in VRT that encourage motorists to trade up to a lower emitting car have the potential not only to protect local employment, but can also encourage renewal of the national vehicle fleet, which will play an important role in reducing emissions from transport. VRT reductions could help kick-start the Industry, increase demand and increase the overall tax take.”

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