Toyota still our favourite while Audi grows too
DISASTER: Budget madness and electric car fiasco fuel fears for 2012
SILVER is the new black, Audi the new BMW, and the electric car dream is the new motoring nightmare.
But the big news from today's auto figures is not the increase in sales in 2011, it's the stuff that's not there -- car trouble for 2012.
A lethal mix of Michael Noonan and Leo Varadkar has ended any hopes of growth in what should be the most productive and economy inspiring of industries.
Instead of building on the 1.6pc increase in car registrations, this Government has already ensured that the drop by the end of this year could be as much as 15pc.
The figures released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry show that sales for last year were 89,900.
But thanks to Finance Minister Noonan's ham-fisted Budget, the reality is that 2012 could be a very bad year for car sales.
Increases in VAT and rises in other car taxes, a failure to increase a new scrappage scheme, as well as ongoing reluctance to encourage the banks to give out car loans have ensured tough times lie ahead.
Say what you like about Biffo and his band of idiots, at least they tried to encourage car sales with incentives that got the industry moving again.
Today's SIMI figures show that Audi has replaced BMW as the luxury car brand of Ireland with sales of 3,464 -- just 31 cars ahead, and Mercedes is lagging with 1,951 sales.
Toyota is the brand of choice for the Irish motorist, with sales of more than 11,000, Volkswagen is in second place -- replacing Ford, which drops into third.
The Ford Focus is Ireland's favourite car with sales of 4,242, and, curiously, silver is the favourite car colour, followed by black and grey.
And, as predicted in these pages, the electric car has been a very expensive disaster.
When Nissan came out and postured that it would sell 500 of its Leaf electric models, the rest of shook our heads in disbelief -- but even it couldn't have expected to sell so few.
SIMI's figures show that just 46 poor twits bought into the electric car dream, so shamefully rammed down their throats by the ESB and Green Party.
The ESB had insisted that 2,000 electric cars would be on the road by the end of 2011.
Even more astonishing, they promised that there would be 6,000 on the roads by the end of this year -- there will not even be 60.