He said: 'The importation of new cars and vans from the Republic of Ireland has become a major influence in our market.' Stewart said the two main factors are variations between the currencies and the pricing policies of manufacturers who charge different wholesale prices across European member states.
He said the blame does not lie with dealers in the Republic, but with the manufacturers. Stewart added: 'Almost 15% of cars and 58% of vans registered in Northern Ireland this year to the end of August were imported from the south. Some volume marques have suffered more than 30% penetration of new car registrations by importers who bypass the franchised dealer network.'