Ford Focus is Ireland's millennium best-seller

Figures released today by the SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry) show car registrations soared by 43.5% in the first 6 months of the new millennium. In all, 179,246 new cars were registered in the year to June, 5,016 more than in the whole of 1999. With 11.4% of the market, Ford strengthened its position as the country's best-selling marque, ahead of Nissan and Toyota, and exceeded the 20,000 unit threshold for the first time. The Ford Focus is Ireland's most popular car, with 8,792 registrations to date (provisional figure).

New passenger car registrations - first 6 months of 2000: Units Share Ford 20500 11.4% Nissan 19547 10.9% Toyota 19465 10.9% GM 17679 9.9% Volkswagen 16549 9.2% Total market: 179246

Car registrations for last month showed an increase of 36.7% over June 1999, at 22,738 units, with Ford again claiming top spot with 14% share, ahead of Toyota (11.8%) and Nissan (10.2%).

Total vehicle registrations (including light commercials) for the first six months totalled 209,570, an increase of 40%, with commercials up 22.8% at 30,324 units. Again, Ford was market-leader in the commercial sector with 14.8% market share, ahead of Toyota and Volkswagen.

New commercial vehicle registrations - first 6 months of 2000: Units Share Ford 4482 14.8% Toyota 3458 11.4% Volkswagen 3003 9.9% NIssan 2740 9.0% Total market: 30324

'The hold-off for a 00 reg plate is one reason for the positive start to the millennium,' commented Eddie Nolan, Chairman and Managing Director, Henry Ford & Son, 'but economic buoyancy - more people, making more money, wanting to be more mobile - is the primary factor behind this continuing upsurge in car sales.

'It is hard to credit that just five years ago, car registrations for an entire year were at the 80,000 mark - less than half what they are now in 6 months. That's a boom in anyone's terms.

'As the market grows, so too does the choice of models available to the public, with sports and 'lifestyle' offerings abounding. That Ford has been able to ride the crest of the wave in this ever more competitive market is a compliment to the ongoing strength of our model line-up, not least the best-selling Focus.'