Anyone who is investing in a new car is more likely to going up North or abroad to get it, with Waterford’s motor dealers suffering a ‘catastrophic’ two-thirds fall-off in sales according to data released this week by the Car Index.

It shows that new car sales in Waterford (City and County) have dropped by 66% (3% above the national average) since the start of 2009, while imports to the county are only down 27% – again 3% higher than the median decrease countrywide.

Some 56% of Waterford buyers are opting for diesel, with the Volkswagen Golf topping the table for petrol cars with 52 registrations in Waterford. The Nissan Qashqai has the lead in the Diesel segment with 69.

Only one 2009 Audi Q5 has been registered in Waterford this year. By comparison, the most popular import is the BMW 3-Series with 58 registrations in Waterford followed by the VW Passat with 51.

Shane Teskey from says: “It’s clear that the Irish are still prepared to travel north of the border or further afield in search of a bargain… We believe that 2010 will be just as tough… and that the government needs to do something to address the problem of imports as money continues to flow out of the country and Waterford people working in the motor industry continue to lose their jobs.

“With 10,000 jobs already lost in the sector, all hopes are resting on the proposed government scrappage scheme in a last ditch attempt to save 10,000 more [of a total of 35,000 remaining] that are hanging on by a thread,” he added.

Alan Nolan, Director General of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), confirms that the year to date has seen more than 70 garage closures – six in November alone – and the loss of more than 11,000 jobs.