Monday, May 17, 2010

Geographic distribution of new car sales

We have been tracking the new car sales figures released each month by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).  These figures come out within a day or two of the month-end and give a instant insight into a key retail sector.
For the four months to April, SIMI’s figures give an increase of 38.3% on new car sales in the same four months last year.  The Central Statistics Office also produce data on new cars on registrations.  This is much more detailed than the SIMI data but the cost of this is a delay in the release of the figures.  The CSO have two datasets of interest
  1. Vehicle Registrations collected from VRT returns to the Revenue Commissioners
  2. Vehicle Licensing collected from license plate numbers issued by licensing authorities
The Vehicle Licensing statistics allow us to get a geographic breakdown of the number of new cars licensed in each licensing area.  Ireland has 30 licensing areas corresponding to the geographic identifiers used on license plate numbers.
The Vehicle Licensing figures indicate that for the first four months of the year there was a 35.1% increase in the number of new passenger cars licensed compared to the same four months last year.  This is broadly in line the the SIMI figures.
However using the CSO’s data we can get a breakdown of this by region.  The top five areas for the first four months of the year are:
Car Licenses by Area Top Four of the top five licensing authorities are in the south-east of the country.  On this list Kilkenny is also eighth with an annual increase of 46.8%.
The bottom five licensing areas are:
Car Licenses by Area Bottom
The two things to note here are the inclusion of Dublin in the bottom five, the country’s largest licensing area, and the negative figure for Limerick City, the only recorded drop in the country.  By contrast Limerick County ranked 14th with an increase in car licensing of 42.2%.
Although in the bottom five, the increase of 2,214 in new passenger car licenses in Dublin City and County is greater than the combined increase of 1,751 recorded for the top five licensing areas in the first table.
A table of the data for the first four months of the year for all 30 licensing authorities is available here
Finally, in percentage terms April was the best month of the year so far with an increase of  72.7% in new passenger car registrations on the same month last year.  Limerick City continues to be the poorest performing area with a drop of 56.8% on last year.  Waterford City and Roscommon also recorded drops.  At the other end, nine licensing areas had an increase of more than 100%.  Included here is the region of Cork City and County (+133.2%) which accounted for more than one-eighth of total licenses issued.  Full table here.

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