The Old Continent has been battered and bruised by the 2008-2009 recession and unlike the US, which quickly recovered, the region faced a six-year slump that led to sales seeing two decade lows.
Finally, last year the auto market hit rock bottom and began a slow ascent, with mixed results from some of the larger markets in the process. Last month showed that things are finally starting to level, with reports coming from the western European countries citing higher demand. The latest to follow the trend is UK’s neighbor – Ireland – which posted a 26 percent jump in new car registrations on the back of the country’s broader economic recovery. While new car sales increased 26 percent, the deliveries for new commercial vehicles almost doubled – further spurring hopes that the slump is finally over. The figures come after Ireland predicts its overall economy had soared by 5 percent last year, probably at the fastest rate in the European Union and data seen so far reports falling unemployment levels and services and manufacturing growth.
January is traditionally the strongest sales month in Ireland, as buyers take advantage of the updated registration plates and deliveries totaled a little over 20,000 units. That compares to the 16,000 vehicles sold last January and are almost double the quota seen during the same period in 2013. Last year new car deliveries were also the best since 2008, when Ireland was hit – just like the rest of Europe – by the fiscal and banking crisis. Overall on the continent new car sales soared 5.7 percent in 2014, buoyed by government incentives, tax breaks and a consumer switch to more affordable brands – such as Dacia, Skoda and Seat – allowing the market to return to positive results after six consecutive years of falling demand.