The motor company displays at this year’s National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois, were impressive if not a little lower in numbers than in the past.

Gowan Auto

Gowan Auto led the field with a massive display from the entire Stellantis Group display that now includes the Alfa Romeo, Citroën, DS, Fiat, Jeep, Opel and Peugeot car and van brands.

The Irish-owned Gowan Auto Group had 45 cars and vans on display, making a huge statement of intent to offer cars and car and van parts supplies in hand in Ireland, at its recently opened impressive Citywest warehouse operation.

Jeep Avenger

The new Jeep Avenger was the highlight of the display as a new-entry small SUV.

There is no petrol or diesel engine option for the new Avenger, just a full electric model.

I’m not so sure that this will be a big hit with rural drivers who have traditionally considered the Jeep brand to be an off-road performer that demands the torque that only diesel engines can bring to vehicles whose purpose is to earn their keep through solid work.


Toyota’s display was almost as impressive, and its emphasis is clearly on hybrid and electric cars.

Pride of place on the Toyota stand went to the new plug-in version of the Toyota Prius, not exactly a farmer’s car.

The Toyota diesel options are limited to the 4x4 models such as the best-selling Land Cruiser and Hilux models and all of its van ranges. I had expected to see the new Land Cruiser there to tease the market for 2024.

It would have been the crowd puller for the event, given that the current Land Cruiser is still the second-best seller in the Irish light commercial van market.

Ford Ranger

While Ford’s Ranger remains Ireland’s best-selling 4x4 pickup, Ford’s emphasis at the Ploughing was on its electric car future and it promoted its Go Electric Roadshow in anticipation of the arrival of the new all-electric Ford Explorer for 2024.

Ford is still offering a diesel engine option in the Focus, or the larger Tourneo versions of the Custom or Connect vans, as well as the Ranger. The diesel options are disappearing fast from the blue oval range

Ineos Grenadier 4x4

The Ineos Grenadier 4x4, the contender for the older Land Defender space in the market, was on display again this year.

The twin-cab pickup and van versions were the ones on view, all powered by straight six-cylinder BMW engines.

The Land Rover Defender look-a-like, the Ineos Grenadier, was on show again this year with a twin-cab pick-up version called the Quartermaster. It is priced at €64,995 for the two-seat version and all versions can be commercially taxed.

They are pricey and have yet to be fully tested in terms of volume users and we hope to get an opportunity to test drive in the very near future.


Volvo and BMW both had displays, the latter through local dealer Colm Quinn Motors. With both of these brands, the emphasis was on electric or hybrid models.

Volvo showed its EX30 SUV in a glass box to protect it from the Ploughing mud. Prices start at €38,596.


The obvious absentees included the full line from the Volkswagen Group and that included Audi, Cupra, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen cars and commercials, in a year when Volkswagen was launching its new Amarok. Dacia, Hyundai, Kia and Nissan.

Seven of the 10 top-selling car brands in Ireland were missing from the event. That undoubtedly diluted the attractiveness of the Ploughing as a place to plan your next car or 4x4 purchase.

Maybe it’s that point that modern cars rarely look well in the mud!

Bigger cars with petrol or diesel engines, such as the Peugeot 508, were a rarity at the Ploughing.