In March, the American brand announced it would be taking on direct responsibility for selling Chevy cars and parts in Ireland, and the current sales network would be fully backed by Chevrolet UK and not a private importer.
But a difficult Irish economy and superstitious buyers may be a problem for the Chevrolet in 2013, says the firm’s MD.
‘We are now ready to go from a technical, government and registrations point of view, and the dealer network is in place,’ Chevrolet UK’s managing director, Mark Terry, exclusively told Car Dealer. ‘We have continued in partnership with 10 of the existing dealers that were there before, but honestly the Irish market is very tough.
‘This year the Irish new car market is not reaching anywhere near the forecasted predictions. Next year, given the number plate change to ’13’ and the superstitious associations with that, the industry governing body is suggesting that 18 per cent of customers will decide not to buy a car next year just because of the 13-plate.
‘That is on top of an already depressed market. Is this the time to be making a heavy investment in this market? We’re not sure.’
However, Terry did offer some comfort to Irish customers, adding: ‘We will certainly continue our ambitions in making sure we have a service network and we take care of our existing customers, but it maybe the case where we need to back off a little bit, make sure our dealers are okay, weathering the storm, and waiting for the market to come back.
‘That may not be next year – we will have to keep an eye out on the economics and market dynamics.
‘My overall message is we’re still serious in getting into Ireland, but we will be watching it very closely due to it taking a bit of a turn that I don’t think anyone was expecting.’
VOLT FOR IRELAND?
‘We would introduce Volt if the investment is right and whether Ireland is right for the car. Ireland is interested in EVs, but not to the same extent as the UK,’ explained Terry.
‘Once we get a sense that the investment is worth making and we can ensure the dealer can supply the right technical services to customers, we would go ahead.’