April saw 203 new units registered which was an increase on the 196 units registered in the same month of last year.
A total of 903 new tractors have been registered during the first four months of the year which is a drop of some 13% on 2016. The slight recovery during April bears out anecdotal reports that the new tractor trade is to a large extent on a par with last year but with ordering and delivery running slightly later. In recent years, following the introduction of the split year for vehicle registration purposes, July has become the month of the year with the second highest level of tractor registrations and the outcome of this coming July will be watched with close interest.
Nearly 88% of all registrations during the first four months have been of tractors with in excess of 100 hp and 55% of registrations were of units with greater than 120 hp. The five counties with the most registrations in the first four months have been Cork, Tipperary, Wexford, Galway and Kilkenny with 125, 83, 65, 53 and 50 units respectively. There have been 968 used imported tractors registered during the first four months which is significantly above the levels seen in 2015 and 2016 but this must be viewed in the context of the change of the fortunes of Sterling since the Brexit vote in summer 2016 and would not be anything hugely out of the ordinary.
Registrations of telehandlers have continued the strong performance seen in 2016 when 304 new such machines were registered, up from 185 in 2015. A total of 139 telehandlers were registered in the first four months of this year which is an increase of two units on the same period in 2016. The two counties with the highest numbers of telehandlers registered during the period under review were Meath and Dublin with 25 and 21 units respectively. The concentration of one third of the units in the Dublin / Meath area and a further 18% in the counties of Kildare and Cork highlights the impact of a resurgent construction sector in certain areas on the demand for this category of machine.
Registrations of backhoe loader were, somewhat surprisingly, down in 2016 at 40 units as against 69 units in 2015 and 51 in 2015. There has been an improvement in backhoe registrations during 2017 so far with 22 units registered during the first four months of the year which is up from 17 over the same months of last year.