New and improved: Ford are hoping the Focus will keep selling big

The motor industry has added an extra €60m to the government coffers due to an unexpected boost in car sales. A resurgent motor industry is doing more than its share to improve the economy with the arrival of low emission/high economy engines which have tempted motorists back in increasing numbers.

The booming new car sales now running at 70,000 for the year to date compares with 21,000 for the same period last year and was the figure predicted by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry for the full year. This means that lots of new jobs have been created within an industry which lost 10,000 workers last year. And crucially the upturn in sales has added extra expenditure to government funds through increased VAT and VRT returns. The total government take on new motor sales the end of June was €430m.

The government scrappage scheme was a big boost in the upsurge of sales this year but the extent of the upturn has been a welcome surprise to all and will leave the way open for the SIMI to make a strong case for a new scrappage scheme next year. Analysts say this could push sales to between 100,000 and 120,000 in 2011.

Sales last year dropped to a disaster level – just 52,000 units, but this year a healthier 85,000 sales are forecast by the year end. The SIMI has helped garages to get extra staff and will be actively promoting the case for a further scrappage scheme. "Convincing the government to go for another such scheme should be like pushing an open door considering the extra money it generates," a major Dublin dealer said this week.

There are many new models coming on stream to keep the momentum going on the sales front. Many of these will make their appearance at the Paris Motor Show in October and one of the most eagerly awaited is the new Ford Focus. The new model will not arrive here until next February to replace the current Focus which has again been the top selling model in the Irish market so far this year.

It has a bigger body, is more spacious inside and will have a new suspension. A big new feature will be the range of eco-boost petrol engines which use a special injection system which is used in the Galaxy and S-MAX models.

The top selling cars in Ireland for January to June this year were: Ford Focus – 3,242; VW Golf – 3.061; Ford Fiesta, 3,054; Nissan Qashqai – 2,818; and Renault Megane – 2,717.