Five ways a Hard Brexit will impact on Motoring in Ireland

What are the implications for car buying and Motorists in a post no-deal Brexit writes Geraldine Herbert?

  1. Importing a car from the UK will become more expensive
    Over 100,000 used cars were imported last year from the UK and Northern Ireland. A no-deal Brexit would mean that UK car exports to the EU would become subject to a 10% tariff under World Trade Organisation rules. There would also be VAT Charged. The customs duty is applied first and then the VAT is charged, which means the VAT will be charged not just on the price of the car, but also on the duty as well. All of this must be paid in advance of the NCT appointment to assess the VRT. However, there would be no change to importing a car from Northern Ireland.
  2. The choice of new cars may be reduced
    The UK currently imports a significant number of cars from Europe in fact, 12% of the total German Car manufacturing output goes to the UK. If due to tariffs etc it becomes prohibitively expensive for European car manufacturers to supply to the UK market they may cease production of Right-hand drive cars for the European market thereby impacting on the supply to Ireland also.
  3. Car repairs could cost more
    The price of car parts will rise as they will be subject to a tariff of up to 4% if they are coming from the UK. Parts manufactured in the EU but distributed into Ireland from a warehouse or distribution centre in the UK would have no tariff but would be subject to long delays as customs would need to be cleared and increased costs will be passed on to consumers.
  4. You can no longer exchange a valid MOT for an NCT
    Under new EU rules that came into force in May 2018 you can now swap a foreign roadworthiness certificate for an NCT disc provided the existing document is still valid and in date. The move was designed to harmonise vehicle inspection across the EU. However in the event that UK leaves the EU on 31st December, they will become what is called a ‘third country’ as such the current legislation does not extend to recognising certificates from ‘third countries. Over the coming week, NCTS will be updating website FAQ’s to advise customers of same. There will also be an updated notification at the VRT centres advising that any applications received post 31st December will not be processed and the vehicle will be subject to a full Irish NCT test.
  5. A UK Driving licence will no longer be valid
    The advice from the NDLS is that people with a UK Driving Licence living in Ireland are advised to exchange their licence for an Irish one in advance of Dec 31st. If there is a no-deal Brexit, then after this date, if you are living in Ireland, your UK driving licence will no longer be valid to drive here and you will need to apply for a learner permit.


Geraldine Herbert

12th December 2020


Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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