Car sales in 2016 have already eclipsed last year's total

Hyundai beats Toyota to be best-selling brand in July...

Car sales in 2016 have already eclipsed last year's total

The Hyundai Tucson, Ireland's most popular car this year. Photo: hyundai.ie

New car registrations to the end of July this year are up 19% on the same period in 2015, according to new figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).

Car sales for the year thus far have already surpassed the total number of new cars registered for the whole of 2015 (124,947).

When it comes to '162' plates arriving on Irish roads, sales of 29,931 motors in July represented an 8% increase on the same month last year.

The top-selling car of the month and the year to date is the Hyundai Tucson.

The Tucson is joined by the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai and the Soka Octavia in the top five for the year.

When it comes to the commercial end of things, light commercial vehicles were up 15% (4,341) on the same month last year, and 23% (22,746) for 2016 so far.

SIMI Director General Alan Nolan said:

“The motor industry performed strongly in the first half of 2016, with increased activity in both car and commercial vehicle sales.

"This growth has continued into July, although at a noticeably slower rate than the first two quarters, perhaps due to a combination of external factors such as Brexit and the fact that the extremely high growth rates of recent years must naturally slow as we get closer to a more normal market following a period of catch up."

Nolan also noted that sales need to be at "sustainable – the SIMI warned last month that 2017 could be a flat year, primarily due to Brexit.

Nolan said:

"It is important however, for both the industry and the economy that, new vehicle sales continue to be at sustainable levels, which for new cars is in the region of 150,000 to 160,000, based on the current population and the age of the national car fleet.

“A new car market in the region of 150,000 delivers over €1bn in tax revenues, supports the employment of more than 40,000 in the Motor Industry, and assists in reducing our CO2 emissions from transport by tens of thousands of tonnes."