New data on new vehicles licensed in Ireland in February is out and it makes for some depressing reading:
Note the precipitous decline in New Goods Vehicles - down 23% in February and down 21.4% in two months through February. This suggests that even if the "131" license plates are having an adverse effect on purchases, the investment cycle is not turning around still. Good Vehicles are a form of business investment in capital. They are also subject to set depreciation schedules, implying the need for replacement at some relatively stable rate over time. If economy was showing any signs of recovery, retail and wholesale trades, plus other domestic and exports-related activities would have translated in higher rate of capacity utilisation, including for goods vehicles. This, in turn, should translate in higher rates of replacement and new investment. So far - the data shows the opposite.
It is worth noting that the total number of used imported private cars licensed in February was 3,717 against 3,312 a year ago and the number of used goods vehicles rose from 737 in January-February 2012 to 883 in the same period 2013. Still, net effect is that of a more marked decline in goods vehicles than in private cars.
Here's the summary of historical data:
And the summary clearly shows that in terms of All Vehicles, we are now back to the levels of sales consistent with January- February 1994, in terms of New Vehicles sales and in terms of New Private cars sold to the level seen back in the end of 1993. Meanwhile, the State continues to rip off motorists at the ever increasing rate via fuel costs, registrations, VRT, VAT, licenses cost, etc.