Alan Nolan, Director of SIMI

NEW car sales fell 42 per cent in June to 6,370 units (down from 11,007 in June ’11)

If the Scrappage cars sold last June are excluded, this drop is 7.5 per cent year-to-date new car sales are down 13.5 per cent; 10,422 fewer cars sold compared to the first six months of last year.

Light Commercial Vehicles (vans) were up five per cent in June but down five per cent year-to-date.

Heavy Commercial Vehicles (trucks) were down 17 per cent in June but up 17 per cent year-to-date.

“With half the year gone and sales down by 10,000 units, business is extremely fragile and levels of activity are set to reduce for the rest of the year, so protecting jobs will be a key challenge for the sector in the months ahead,” said Alan Nolan, Director General SIMI.

“The figures for the month of June show a huge drop; down 42 per cent, but this needs to be seen in context.

“June last year was the final month of Scrappage, which saw 4,119 cars sold under the Scheme, so the year to date figure, showing a fall of 13.5 per cent, is more relevant here.

“The Government is in the process of reviewing Road Tax and VRT, at a very challenging time for the Motor Industry and we are reassured by the fact that detailed consultations have taken place on the review but we have to caution that any negative changes in such a low market will have a direct impact on employment.

“It’s important that jobs are protected and measures to stimulate growth will deliver more for the Exchequer than increasing the burden of taxation.

“This time last year, 77,079 new cars had been sold. This is likely to be very close to the overall total for the entire twelve months of this year.

“It is crucial both for State revenues and for employment that the sector does not continue to contract next year; 37,000 people work in the Motor Industry, which is the equivalent of the Telecommunications, Legal and Accounting industries combined.”