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Used vehicle imports soar during 2018

ONE thing that was obvious since the start of the Brexit saga and the consequent reduction in the value of sterling was the burgeoning imports of used vehicles. Two years on and statistics from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show that 100,755 used cars were imported last year.
It is apparent that Irish used car buyers made use of the strong euro and were able to pick up deals in the United Kingdom. Official statistics compiled by the Society show that of those 100,755 used cars imported in the last year, the overwhelming majority (95.8%) were imported from the UK.
Further analysis by Fexco Corporate Payments found a 59% increase in imports from the UK last year compared with 2017. Furthermore, the average cost paid for vehicles imported from the UK by individual Irish buyers was €21,612, a 34% rise in the average figure paid in 2017. That figure also showed that Irish motorists who imported cars directly from the UK ordered higher specification models.
David Lamb, Fexco’s head of dealing, said that Irish consumers were following a trend first noticed by Irish car dealers in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union back in 2016.
“For years the cost – and red tape – of importing a UK-registered car into Ireland put off all but professional dealers or the most committed individual motorists,” he said.
“Sterling’s continued weakness, however, has shifted that calculus, prompting ever more Irish motorists to look to the UK for their next car.” This situation has left many Irish dealers with a hefty stack of used cars on their hands.
Meanwhile, DoneDeal’s Motor Industry review for 2018 also revealed that 640,326 used cars were sold in Ireland during 2018, a 3.6% drop from 664,253 in 2017. The website’s analysis found that Volkswagen was Ireland’s most popular used car brand last year, with 87,992 Volkswagens changing hands. The German manufacturer was followed by Toyota (73,834 sold), Ford (71,882 sold), Nissan (49,938 sold) and Audi (37,714 sold). The analysis also showed the makes and models sold last year that retained their market value the most from when they were bought as new in 2015.
The car that maintained its value the most since 2015 was the Skoda Octavia, which had an average depreciation of 22%, followed by the Volkswagen Golf (27%) and the Ford Focus (36%).
Separately, searches of electric and hybrid vehicles also increased on the site last year, with over 2 million electric car searches taking place on DoneDeal in 2018, compared to just under 950,0000 in 2017. This represented a clear trend in consumer behaviour, according to Done Deal’s Martin Clancy.
“Electric car searches surged 110% compared with 2017, hybrid searches are up 83% while Diesel dipped by 14% during the same period,” he said.