Leo Brennan from Action Adhesives picking up his new Skoda Octavia at Doran Motors.

‘By the end of March... Ireland will be starved of second hand cars’

One the region's biggest car dealers is warning of a shortage of used cars, the numbers of which could fall to their lowest levels in 20 years.

That's the view being expressed by Peter Doran, dealer principal of Doran Motors in Carrickmacross - agent for Skoda, Mazda and Hyundai. Dorans also operate a second garage in Drogheda.

Speaking to the Celt, Mr Doran explained that the hike in carbon taxes is impacting the resale value of second hand vehicles and the numbers of imports are also falling.

The fall in new cars being sold, as a result of the lockdown, is also hitting the numbers of used cars available as there are less trade-ins coming back on the market.

"For the last 10 or 15 years, our population was growing and the British car import market was feeding the Irish market. That market is now sealed off and the only other way of generating a second hand car market is to sell new cars," he explained.

"I reckon by the end of March this year, Ireland will be starved of second hand cars and they will be very expensive – that will happen in the next six weeks," added Mr Doran.

In 2018, there were a total of 100,755 cars imported from Britain. In 2019, the figure grew to 113,926 (up 13.1%). Then, in 2020, Covid hit and the number fell to 79,969, a dramatic drop of 29.8%.

Mr Doran revealed that, in respect of his own forecourts, 150 used cars came into Doran Motors in Carrickmacross and 80 to the dealership in Drogheda buth both had run out of 2018 vehicles on Tuesday evening of last week.

Putting out pre-ordered cars

The car salesman further told the Celt that the team at Doran Motors have been busy getting out all the cars that were pre-ordered in December and that was up to between 140 to 150 cars.

The big selling cars at Doran Motors are the new Hyundai Tucson, the new Skoda Octavia and the Skoda Kodiaq.

Finance rates of 0% are available on selected new models, the Hyundai is 3.9% on Hire Purchase and (HP); while Mazdas are available from 2.9%.

Online trading

The online business is going well in relation to good used cars. "Nobody will have a choice anymore – the bulk of the business will be online probably for the next six months," predicted Mr Doran.

He acccepted that a large portion of the older generation of customers looking for a car are not into the online offering. "A lot of people over 60 are not online, unless they get help from a son or a daughter," he finds.

"If they want a car to inspect, we bring it to them to view at first hand and we have already got a good deal of information to them," Mr Doran added.

Online video demonstrations

In terms of adapting sales to comply with the current restrictions, the team at Doran Motors produce online video demonstrations, conduct live video calls and send out photographs of cars as well. "If they want to see the car, we bring it to them," added Mr Doran.

He said they have been doing the videos since last March and the tour of the car via the camera lens is now second nature to the team at Doran’s.

The company is looking at other systems to get the video message out to the customer instantly as if you were sitting in the car.

Mr Doran believes that, when the lockdown is eventually fully over, online sales will make up about 50% of the business.

"The younger generation will have their home work done online and they will only be coming to the showroom to look at a particular colour of car – the colour is something you have to see in reality," he outlined.

Workshop open

The workshop and parts department remains open five days a week at Doran Motors as this is deemed an essential service.

The workshop is very busy and Mr Doran revealed they have a contract to maintain all the Garda cars in Monaghan, Cavan, Louth and Meath.