CAR sales dipped for the third straight month, with industry experts blaming Brexit for the decline.
Just 2,337 new vehicles were registered in Cork last month, a drop of more than 10% in comparison to March 2016.
It is part of a wider trend which has seen sales dwindle by 9.2% in Cork in the year date when compared to the same period last year.
Figures provided by car history experts Motorcheck.ie show that some 9,904 new vehicles were sold in Cork so far this year, down from close to 11,000 in the first quarter last year.
It accounts for 13% of the total number of cars sold nationally.
The fall in sales comes after three years of sustained growth in the motor industry.
Commenting on the falling sales, Michael Rochford, managing director of Motorcheck.ie, said, “The industry is coming off three years of sustained annual growth with 30% year-on-year increases becoming commonplace. This was never going to be sustained into the future and it was felt that this year would see a levelling off in sales.”
Uncertainty over Brexit is a major issue for the industry, according to Mr Rochford. He said, “The dip in sales is largely down to uncertainty in the economy caused by Brexit, whilst the strength of the euro against sterling has made it attractive to import used vehicles from the UK and, consequently, many people are opting for a nearly new import rather than a brand-new vehicle.”
Used car imports are soaring nationwide, with registration figures showing a 56% increase in these vehicles for the first quarter of 2017 versus the same months last year.
Industry experts are forecasting some 90,000 used imports by the end of 2017, a jump from 72,000 last year.
Mr Rochford warned car buyers to be wary when looking overseas for a bargain, though.
He said, “We have seen the rates of clocked vehicles and written off vehicles increase slightly in Q1 — largely among used imports.”
Continuing a trend that emerged last year, the Hyundai Tuscon remains the biggest selling model in Ireland, with Nissan, Ford and Toyota all reporting strong sales this year.