Great value to be had in Irish second hand car market
Brexit may have driven down sterling values — but there is obviously still a deal to be had here at home in Ireland because virtually no new cars have been imported in recent times.
That was the welcome silver lining that Alan Nolan of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry found to the mediocre new car sales which were recorded across the Irish car industry in April.
The statistics showed that new car registrations for last month were down 24% compared to the same month last year meaning the year-to-date figure was down 10% on the first four months of 2016.
However, three points must be borne in mind when considering the figures.
2016 was one of the first years in nearly a decade that people suddenly felt they had a bit of money and finally believed they had the financial breathing space to splash out on a new motor. Therefore, it was always going to be a good year for the new car dealers.
Secondly, one must also remember that while the figures were down, the first four months of this year still saw 83,831 new registrations — in the whole of 2015 there were just 96,284 such registrations.
The third point, and possibly the most pertinent for the used car sector, is that while people may not be buying new cars, they are becoming more willing to spend more on second hand vehicles.
Last month, economist Jim Power revealed that used car imports increased by 56% between the first quarters of 2016 and 2017.
“Continued sterling weakness is driving this trend, and while many of the imports are relatively old, they are still likely to be displacing some new car sales,” said Mr Power.
His report found 49% of the cars imported in the first quarter of this year were between 3-5 years old and 31% were between 6-9 years old.
He said that primarily reflected a lack of supply of second hand Irish cars in the 2009- 2013 registration period.
However, that availability is starting to and will only continue to improve.
The economy had begun to turn by 2014. In 2013, 74,303 new cars were sold. In 2014 that rose to 96,338. The number of second hand cars hitting the market will only increase.
Furthermore the bargains will become more plentiful as the used stock increases.
In March 2017, the average price of a new car was 4.7% lower than a year earlier and between January 2010 and March 2017, the average price of a new car declined by 21.1%.
With new cars becoming cheaper, the dealers will have to reduce the price of the second hand models if they want to shift them from their forecourts.
People are more willing to spend on used cars this year
CAB Motor Company, Ballintemple, Cork. Members of the sales team (from left) Barrie Kenny, sales executive; Tim O’Donovan, sales executive, and Pat Harte, sales manager. Picture: Denis Minihane
All of the signals point to motor dealers bringing down the prices of second hand cars, so that now really is a good time to buy.