Note: correction - previously this post reported data for vehicles first licensed in the state but labeled these are registrations (as apparent from the contradictions between text and graphs). This is now corrected.
Per CSO, licensing data potentially represents better data for capturing car sales than registrations (see background notes here: http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/vlftm/vehicleslicensedforthefirsttimeapril2014/#.U3EvbK1dWEK)
First quarter numbers for cars licensed in Ireland are available now, with some delay on my side, so let's chug through the data and what it might signal.
Lot of good headlines from the front of car sales.
- Q1 2014 new licensed cars are up 30.0% y/y and up 10.9% on 2011 and 18.1% on 2012. This is a significant increase, albeit from very low numbers and an increase sustained outside the 2013 license plate superstitions.
- New vehicles licensed are up 29.2% y/y. However, rate of increase is shallower compared to 2011 and 2012 - up 10.7% on 2012 and 3.3% on 2011. This means used cars licensing is a larger driver of growth.
- New private cars licenses are up 27% y/y in Q1 2014, and up 9.1% on 2012, but are still down 0.3% on 2011. Not so good, after all, when you consider Q1 2012 to have been recessionary in outlook and Q1 2014 supposedly all full of boisterous expectations of robust growth.
- New goods vehicles - decent indicator of future expectations on sole-traders and SMEs side - are up 50.9% y/y and up 24.7% on 2012 and 31.6% on 2011. This is a good sign on activity expectations side, but also a reflection of depreciation in the stock of goods vehicles over the years of the crisis.
Two charts to illustrate:
For the fun side of things, I used to look at Angela Merkel's Happiness with Ireland Index (or in simple terms: new premium brands German make car licensing - BMW, Merc, Audi and Porsche) - see the chart below for why Angela should be somewhat better pleased…