SIMI calls for reduced VRT to save jobs in motor industry

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) has called for a reduction in Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) to be included in the next government budget.

Brian Cooke, SIMI director general said a reduction in VRT would “save jobs” in the motor industry in Ireland.

He added a reduction “would enable the car market return to normal sustainable levels”.

The comments come after the latest figures show new car registrations for August were down 4.2 per cent (4,875) when compared to August 2019 (5,088).

Official SIMI figures also show registrations year to date are down 28.6 per cent (78,920) on the same period last year (110,527).

Light commercial vehicles (LCV) are down 11 per cent (1,683) compared to August last year (1,891) and year to date are down 23.8 per cent (16,700).

Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations are up 20.13 per cent (185) in comparison to August 2019 (154). Year to date HGVs are down 25.6 per cent (1,641).

Used car imports for August (8,143) have seen a decrease of 16.1 per cent on August 2019 (9,706). While year to date imports are down 45.1 per cent (39,672) on 2019 (72,214).

Cooke commented: “August represents another disappointing month for new car sales, with sales again down on the same month last year, as they have been each month of 2020.

“This has led a year to date reduction of 29 per cent in new cars sales, and a 43 per cent reduction over the last four years. The Industry is operating at the same business levels as 10 years ago, when the sector shed close to 15,000 jobs.

“The outlook for 2021 is not optimistic, with the negative impact of both Covid and Brexit, new car sales will continue at recession levels.

“The motor industry in Ireland supports employment in local communities throughout the country and to protect these jobs it needs a fair taxation environment in which to operate.

“With Budget 2021 only weeks away, now is the time for a significant reduction in Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT).

“This would enable the car market return to normal sustainable levels that would not only save jobs, but increase overall tax take and help renew the Irish car fleet, reducing both the age of the fleet and emissions from transport.”

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