New car sales in north zoom back towards 2014 levels
NEW car sales in the north picked up in July after a three-month blip - and are possibly back on target to equal, if not surpass, last year's figure.
Some 4,226 first-time registered models - mainly Fords, Volkswagens and Renaults - drove out of showrooms in the north last month.
That's a modest rise of 1.6 per cent on the corresponding figure of 4,159 a year ago.
It means 37,635 new cars have been registered in Northern Ireland in this calendar year, less than 0.5 per cent short of where the figures were a year ago.
And after the slow start to the year, it also puts dealers back on track to beat the 2014 total of 57,202 registrations.
In the UK as a whole, new car sales increased for the 41st month in a row.
Continued economic confidence, low interest rates and attractive finance deals were behind the healthy figures, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
It said demand for super-minis has grown by 22 per cent over the past decade as people downsize to smaller cars.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "While more moderate than in recent months, July's rise in new car registrations is good news, and indicative of what we expect for the remainder of 2015.
"With demand having reached a record high in the first half of the year, we anticipate more stable growth in the coming months."
The Ford Fiesta was the best selling car in Northern Ireland last month, followed by the Volkswagen Golf, Renault Clio and Ford Focus.
July's top 10 new car registrations in Northern Ireland were:
1 Ford Fiesta
2 Volkswagen Golf
3 Renault Clio
4 Ford Focus
5 Nissan Qashqai
6 Ford Kuga
7 Vauxhall Insignia
8 Volkswagen Polo
9 Renault Captur
10 Vauxhall Mokka