Not only are new car sales surging in Ireland, but many of the models now being snapped up include such luxury names as Mercedes, BMWs, Rover, MGs and Porsches.
Car sales for the first seven months of this year were 17 percent higher than last year. Recently released figures show that 118,179 new cars were registered up to the end of July, 16,000 more than for the same period last year. Of the cars sold, 2,251 were Mercedes, 1,996 were BMWs, 1,363 were Volvos and 523 were Saabs.
The figures also show that sales of passenger cars in July alone were up 20 percent on the same month last year. Some 254 new BMWs were registered during the month in addition to 293 new Mercedes and 298 new Rover cars.
The biggest seller was Toyota, of which 1,691 were sold, followed by Ford at 1,616, Opel at 1,599 and Nissan at 1,369.
Meanwhile, according to a report in the Sunday Tribune, thousands of second-hand Asian cars are being routed through Dublin into the British market and sold at prices up to 30 percent less than list prices.
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The August meeting of the Irish Business Organization of New York will take place this Wednesday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Shelburne Hotel, on Lexington Avenue between 37th and 38th Streets. The rooftop networking session will follow, weather permitting.
The IBO business breakfast forum will take place Aug. 26 at 8 a.m. in the Mezze Restaurant.
The IBO summer family picnic will take place Sept. 5 at Twin Lakes Waterski Park, in Monroe, N.Y.
Castle Travel and Tours has purchased Round Tower Travel, of Norwood, Mass.
Castle Travel & Tours’ owners, Jerry Dunleavy, from Doolin, Co. Clare, and Peter Robinson, from Belfast, say the business will continue under the name of Round Tower Travel. Another office is planned for the Boston area in the near future.
Dunleavy has a construction business. He also had an Irish pub in the Greater Boston area and built an Irish jewelry import business. Both of those businesses are now sold.
Robinson joined Aer Lingus in Belfast in 1973 and transferred to Boston in August 1976. He was also part of the Boston Irish music scene from 1980 to 1993. He moved to Florida in 1994 and played Irish music throughout the southeastern U.S. He moved back to Boston in 1996 and worked with Irish travel agencies until becoming involved with Dunleavy at Round Tower Travel.
The number of unemployed in Ireland has fallen by 1,900 to 227,200, the lowest since October 1990. In percentage terms, the seasonally adjusted unemployment for July was 9.1, the lowest since current records began in 1983. July was the 16th consecutive month in which the seasonally adjusted rate fell.
Construction, long a favorite industry of the Irish, is experiencing boom times in the U.S. In fact, so buoyant is business that cement makers are operating at or near capacity, with some saying there will be shortages of cement later this year. Many commentators view the construction industry as an extremely good barometer of the health of the economy. The U.S. annually imports about 15 percent of its cement — the main ingredient in concrete.
AIF dinner in Beverly Hills
The American Ireland Fund distinguished leadership award dinner, honoring Northern Ireland peace broker George Mitchell, will take place Nov. 5 in Merv Griffin’s Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. For information, call (310) 271-4386.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world’s largest accounting and consulting firm, is the top fee-earning accountancy practice in Ireland, generating _65 million the past year. The other top five earning accounting firms in Ireland are KPMG, Arthur Andersen, Ernst & Young, Deloite & Touche, and BDO Simpson Xavier.