The total number of new cars sold in 2019 fell by 6.8% to 117,031 units compared to 2018. ŠKODA Ireland is projecting a slightly more optimistic result in 2020, with 120,000 passenger vehicle sales forecasted.

Despite this year’s decline there is still a very healthy appetite for vehicles with 12.9% more used car imports registered in 2019 compared to 2018. The biggest challenge for the industry over the last 3 years was the staggering 307,900 used imports that indirectly affected the new car market.

With the introduction of the new government NOx Tax from 1st January; used imports will not be as advantageous as was previous.

Take for example: a 2016 ŠKODA Superb 2.0 TDI 4×4 170bhp; regardless of purchase price and excluding currency fluctuations this vehicle is subject to a further €2,400 NOx Tax in addition to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT)! This is likely to increase the cost significantly of importing a used vehicle.

In the last 12 months the sale of electric vehicles has increased nearly threefold! 3,443 Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) were delivered in 2019 compared to 1,233 in the same period last year.

The demand for BEVs will only increase in line with consumer awareness of climate change and new model introductions from various brands. Diesel powered vehicles accounted for 47% of all vehicle sales in 2019 with 54,505 customers opting for diesel in 2019.

With electric vehicle technology, especially battery range and infrastructure still in development; petrol and diesel vehicles will likely account for 85% of new vehicle sales in 2020.

Plug in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs) are seen as a stepping stone to an electric future and provide the best of both worlds, with the ability to drive on pure electric power in isolation – or in combination with a modern petrol engine.

PHEVs have seen significant growth in the last 12 months with 1,343 vehicles delivered in 2019, an increase of 85% on the same period last year. ŠKODA Ireland are predicting further PHEV sales growth in 2020 with 250 deliveries alone planned of their new Superb iV PHEV.

Automatic transmissions were once exclusive to premium vehicles but are now becoming much more prevalent in the Irish market. Between 2016 and 2019 automatic vehicle sales have grown by 55% to 38,705 units last year.

One in three new cars sold in 2019 was an automatic. This growth can be attributed to changing customer behaviour and improved transmission technologies such as the efficient 7-speed DSG automatics offered in ŠKODA vehicles.

Colour trends have changed little in the last 12 months. The most popular vehicle colour of 2019 by a considerable margin was grey (43,495) followed by black (21,010).

Colour trends have changed over time however! White, for example remains a very popular colour, with 17,353 vehicles delivered in 2019 – an incredible 2,205% increase compared to a decade ago when only 753 customers purchased a white vehicle in 2009!

Commenting on 2019, John Donegan, Brand Director ŠKODA Ireland said: “The ŠKODA brand has enjoyed its most successful year in the Irish market climbing to fifth position with 9,300 vehicles delivered to customers. The introduction of the new SCALA and the recent launch of the new ŠKODA KAMIQ provide us with an increased offering for our customers.

“The industry is changing at a faster pace than ever before. Electrification, digitalisation and alternative mobility solutions will provide challenges and opportunities for our brand in the coming years.

“I would like to thank our dealer network and customers for their support and custom in 2019 and wish them a prosperous New Year.”