The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), has released the official 201 new vehicle registration figures for January along with their Motor Industry Review Update 2020.

New cars registrations for January are down 3.5% (31,251) when compared to January 2019 (32,370).

Light Commercial vehicles (LCV) are up 2.1% (5,666) compared to January last year (5,548).

HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) registrations are showing an increase of 8.8% (385) in comparison to January 2019 (354).

Used car imports saw a 26.4% (6,623) decline in January when compared with January 2019 (9,003).

Despite a decline in new car registration an important stat of note was the reduction in CO2 emissions.

The average CO2 emissions (108.33g/km) relating to a new car sold in January 2020 reduced by 5.8% on the comparison (115.04g/km) to the same time last year.  

Diesel continues to remain the most popular engine type (42.1%) following by petrol (39.6), hybrid (13.6%) which gained a significant increase in market share along with electric (2.9%) and plug-in hybrid (1.8%).

New electric car registrations increased with 898 registered in January 2020, compared to 799 January 2019.

The SIMI Review highlights that the Irish economy will perform strongly in 2020. This should be supportive of consumer spending. However, the Irish consumer is still behaving in a relatively cautious manner.

Personal spending power remains under pressure from increasingly expensive big-ticket spending items such as rents, mortgage repayment, health insurance and dwelling insurance.

Apart from the economic aspects, there are a number of non-economic factors that are likely to be influential in 2020.

Commenting on the new vehicle registrations figures Brian Cooke, SIMI Director General said: “January is the most important selling month for new cars. In this regard, it is very disappointing to see a reduction in new car sales compared to January last year, the fourth consecutive year in which there has been a fall.

‘Reduction in emissions’

“On a more positive note, there has been a reduction of nearly 6% in the average CO2 emissions from new cars registered in January, underlining the Industry’s commitment to reducing emissions from new cars.

“The Industry is fully committed to further significant reductions in emissions in the years ahead. New cars ultimately displace the oldest most environmentally damaging cars in the National Fleet and in order for Ireland to benefit fully from these technology improvements the new car market needs to be much stronger than it currently is and Government policy should support this.

“January also saw a significant decline in used imports, and while it may be too early to tell, the introduction of the NOx charge on January 1st appears to have reduced demand for older used imports.”    

‘Deep uncertainty and confusion’

Jim Power, Economist and author of the SIMI Report said: “The economic fundamentals will in theory be supportive of new car registrations in 2020, but as has been the case over the past 3 years, used imports and consumer caution will likely have an impact.

“Other factors that could undermine the market is deep uncertainty and confusion about the environmental implications of different types of cars. 

“These uncertainties are not helping new car sales. For 2020, 111,245 new car registrations are projected, which would represent a decline of 5% on the 2019 outturn.”  

New Car Registrations by County January 2020
County2020 Units2019 Units% Change2020 % Share2019 % Share