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Sharp decline in new car sales figures for March amid ‘ongoing challenge of transitioning to electrification’

The number of new car sales in Laois fell by over 26% in March of this year compared to the same month in 2023, according to figures released by the Society for the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).

A total of 137 new cars were recorded as sold here in March compared to the 186 sold 12 months ago.

That 26% decrease in Laois is considerably above the 16% increase seen nationally. 

There were a total of 14,868 new cars sold in Ireland in March 2024, down from 17,685 sold in the same month last year.

This follows two months of steady increases in January and February, both nationally and indeed in Laois.

The March decline is nothing new, however, following the trend of reduced sales figures in the third month of the year.

While there was a decline is sales across the board Electric Vehicles (EVs) saw the biggest dip, with only 14 new cars sold in the County.

This is a reduction of 61% from the 36 sold in March of 2023.

Although the Laois figure well exceeds the national figure, EV sales are down across the board, showing a 41% reduction from 3,412 sales in 2023 to 1,998 in 2024.

The most popular cars in Laois were petrol, with 47 sold in March, down 19% on last year’s figure.

Next was diesel, with 39 sold, down 17% from 2023.

Nationally, however, diesel was overtaken as the second most popular seller in the country by petrol-electric hybrids, while petrol cars were again the most popular cars sold in Ireland.

While there was a slight reduction in petrol-electric hybrid sales in Laois, they were the least affected by the March downturn, with 24 sold compared to 25 sold last year.

Electric car charging

Addressing the decline in sales, SIMI Director General Brian Cooke said:

“While the new car market started strongly in the first two months of the year, March proved to be much more difficult.

“New car sales showed a 16% decrease on the same month last year, although sales for the first quarter remain 8% ahead of 2023.

“Sales across all fuel types were behind last year, with the Electric Vehicle segment seeing a notable decline.

“This highlights the ongoing challenge of transitioning to electrification, as we move into the mainstream car market.

“The electrification of the fleet requires increased collaboration between all stakeholders to bridge this current chasm in the market.

“For the Industry, this means investment and delivery of EV technology.

“For Government, this means increased support in terms of extension of current incentives, including purchase grants and Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) relief for companies, and working with private enterprise to upgrade the national charging infrastructure, to boost consumer confidence in making the switch to electric vehicles.”

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