New car registrations rose sharply in April compared to the same month a year earlier. However, they were still down by nearly a quarter versus pre-Covid 2019.
The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (Simi) said the investment in online by car sellers over the last year and the ability to offer a “click and deliver service” to buyers had served as a lifeline for the sector.
Director general Brian Cooke said retailers were “cautiously optimistic” about car sales in the weeks and months ahead.
“It is hoped that pent-up demand, allied with the increase in personal savings, will see customers returning to showrooms,” he said.
New figures from Simi show there were 7,166 new car registrations for the month of April compared to 343 for the same month a year earlier. There were 8,904 in April 2019, before the pandemic.
The number of electric vehicles registered in April jumped almost twelvefold to 596 compared to 50 in April 2020. So far this year, 3,414 new electric cars have been registered in comparison to 1,700 on the same period in 2020.
Electric vehicles in April still accounted for just over 8 per cent of total registrations, according to Simi figures.
However, electric vehicle, plug-in hybrids and hybrids continued to increase their market share – to 22.6 per cent. Diesel engines currently account for 36.9 per cent of cars and petrol 32 per cent. A breakdown shows hybrid vehicles have 16.66 market share with EVs and plug-in hybrids having 6.2 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively.
Light commercial vehicles registrations rose from 231 in April 2020 to 2,385 last month. Year-to-date registrations are up 44 per cent versus the same period last year, and up 6.67 per cent compared to the first four months of 2019.
Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations are up 21.8 per cent compared to the first four months of 2020, with 325 registrations last month and 1,223 for the year-to-date.
Some 5,676 used cars were imported in April, as against just 200 for the same month a year ago. Year-to-date used imports are up 36.4 per cent on 2020 and down 32.54 per cent on 2019.