Irish new-car sales are solidly back in the fast lane with this year’s deliveries passing the 2013 full-year total on July 9.

The Society of the Irish Motor Industry says the 74,911 units sold by July 9 not only was more than for all of last year, but also was up 28% on the same period last year.

In the first week of the new license plate indicating the car was sold in the second half of the year, 9,207 new cars were delivered, up 79% from last year. The first day of the new plate was the best day for car sales in Ireland in six years, since before the recession.

SIMI Director General Alan Nolan says the second year of the July plate change has seen customers, both business and retail, become more comfortable with the dual-plate concept.

“This, allied to improved consumer confidence and the increased availability of finance, has led to more showroom activity, which benefits customers, the trade and Exchequer finances,” Nolan says in a statement. “With the offers that are available for the month of July, it looks as if it's going to be the busiest July for car sales for many years.”

But Nolan says the improvement needs to be seen in context.

“It is still potentially fragile and even with the growth we have seen, we are still likely to finish around 60% of the pre-recession market,” he says.