New car sales are expected to top 100,000 in 2015 – the highest figure since 2008.
Figures released today by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show a 31 per cent year-on-year increase in new car sales in January.
Some 29,948 151-plate cars were registered last month.
The top three selling car brands so far this year are Toyota, Volkswagen and Ford, with Hyundai and Nissan making up the top five.
Diesel engines are by far the most popular, with 70 per cent of the market. Black is the most popular colour so far for 151 cars, followed by silver and grey.
Speaking at the launch of the final SIMI Quarterly Motor Industry Review 2014 in association with DoneDeal, review author and economist Jim Power was even more optimistic about 2015 sales.
He forecasts a new car market of 120,000.
He said: ‘After a number of very difficult years for the motor trade, the strong growth in car sales reflects improving consumer confidence and spending across the country.
‘While we have not reached the highs of 2008, consumers are showing more confidence in the market and the indications are that we will continue to inch upwards this year provided economic and political conditions remain stable.’
SIMI President James Brooks added: ‘2014 was a positive year for the motor industry, and we are confident that this growth will continue into 2015.’
He added: ‘Our Industry is a key contributor to Government with the increase in new and used sales in 2014 collecting €965 million for the exchequer, which in turn has helped to create an additional 3,800 jobs in the motor industry, up 10.1 per cent since 2013.’
Meanwhile, the cost of motoring generally decreased in 2014, with a drop in the price of both petrol (-7.5 per cent) and diesel (-9.6 per cent). However, insurance costs increased by 11.6 per cent.
The report also showed that the price of new cars has fallen by 2.4 per cent. However, more than a third of cars on Irish roads are now more than 10 years old. Some 40 per cent of cars are between five and 10 years old and just 24 per cent are less than five years.
Some 36 per cent of cars – more than 680,000 – failed the NCT in 2014.
New car sales are up in every country across the country, with Louth showing the biggest increase (43 per cent). However, the majority of new car sales was in Dublin.
Visit the SIMI website for further details.