The manager of a Cork car dealership has labelled the Budget 2021 announcement as an “unjust attack” on the livelihoods of those in the sector.
Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) bands will rise from 11 at present to 20, applying to all new car sales from January 1st. According to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), the changes will mean a €1,000 increase in the price of the average new car.
Whereas current VRT rates range from 14 per cent to 36 per cent, the new VRT table has a range from 7 per cent for cars with carbon emissions (CO2) up to 50g/km to 37 per cent on vehicles with emissions over 191g/km.
The Minister for Finance has also adjusted the NOx surcharge bands, a tax that applies to all new cars and used imports.
Managing Director of Blackwater Motors Denis Murphy said that there is “no environmental reason” for the increase in car prices, increase in VRT for cars registered after January 1, 2021 and increase in petrol and diesel prices announced in the Budget.
“Both ministers started out by saying they want to create some certainty when there’s total uncertainty and they want to safeguards jobs and protect livelihoods and then they go away and attack us like that. It is nothing but an unjust attack on our livelihoods.
“Cars account for 12% of total emissions in Ireland and through the EU they’re on the way to zero carbon emissions by 2050, the Irish Government has no impact on this.
“The Irish Government in the middle of this crisis and with Brexit coming have decided to increase the prices of cars, it's just crazy. Cars are already very expensive, we have the second most expensive cars in the EU.
“Cars are a massive luxury that are out of the reach of 70% of the population so stopping the sale of new cars, which is what they’re going to do, isn't going to do anything for emissions because people will just hang onto their existing cars longer and with no public transport solution in the short term emissions will go up,” he said.
Mr Murphy said that the increase in the price of cars and in VRT has “singled out” his sector.
He said that the motor sector was “the only sector that got hit” in what he described as a “purely political” move.
“The Budget caters to a very small minority in South Dublin.
“It’s anti-car, anti-rural and anti-Cork. Even though Cork is the second biggest city, it's anti-Cork because we don't have a public transport system in place,” he said.