Irish passenger car demand rises 19.1% y/y in slow November
The passenger car market in Ireland has risen during the typically weak month of November. According to data released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) and published by beepbeep.ie, registrations were up by 19.1% year on year to 768 units. Leading the market this month was Tesla, which sold 142 units, thanks to the introduction of the Model 3; this was the best seller, with 136 units sold. Toyota in second place registered 96 units, a gain of 81.1% y/y, while Skoda jumped 150% y/y to sell 70 units. Registrations during the first 11 months of the year are still down by 6.9% y/y after weaknesses earlier in the year, to 116,887 units. In addition, the light commercial vehicle (LCV) market increased by 50.4% y/y to 856 units, meaning that its year-to-date (YTD) registrations are down by just 0.2% y/y to 25,179 units. In the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (MHCV) market, registrations jumped 51.3% y/y to 121 units, and remained in positive territory in the YTD with a gain of 2.6% y/y at 2,603 units.
Significance: The positive performance for the Irish passenger car market during November was down to a number of factors. Firstly, the base comparison is low, caused by the shift from NEDC to WLTP a year ago which led to a degree of pull-forward, as well as difficulties in supplying in certified vehicles by some OEMs during the period after the 1 September 2018 deadline. In addition, after the big sales in the age-related number plate change months of January and July, demand tends to be far weaker towards the end of the year. Furthermore, the situation would be far worse had it not been for Tesla pushing its latest model in the market to customers in this low-volume month. There is also some evidence that OEMs and dealers are registering some of the worst emitting vehicles before the end of the year and the start of new CO2 fleet targets in Europe for 2020 and 2021. Indeed, 72 vehicles in the 191 to 225g/km CO2 range were sold during the month, compared to only two in November 2018. Of this, 68 seem to be Toyota's Landcruiser, making it the second best model this month, after none were sold in November 2018. In a statement, SIMI Director General Brian Cooke called 2019 "a disappointing year for the Irish Motor Industry". He highlighted the continuing impact of used car imports which are having a dampening impact on new car sales. The YTD volumes of used vehicles reached 103,902, an increase of 9.2% y/y, while in November alone 10,011 used vehicles were registered, an increase of 14.7% y/y. He went on to say that the focus for the industry has now turned to January and the change in age-related registration plate, adding, "With generous incentives for customers to buy a new car across all brands and across all market segments, members are hopeful for the busy start to 2020". IHS Markit expects that following a decline in 2019, the passenger car market will start to recover slowly, while the LCV category will fall back again.
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