New car market in Northern Ireland lacks drive in May as registrations drop

More than 1,000 Ford Fiestas have been sold in Northern Ireland so far this year according to SMMT figures
Gary McDonald Business Editor

NEW car sales in Northern Ireland fell back slightly in May, but are ahead of where they were this time last year, according to industry figures.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 4,566 new vehicles left showrooms last month - that's 44 fewer than a year ago.

But in the year to date, there have been 28,031 new registrations, a 2.5 per cent increase on May 2015 when 27,352 cars had been sold.

In the UK as a whole, some 203,585 cars were registered last month, which is the most in May since 2002.

Demand for diesel cars grew 5 per cent, while petrol models saw a small decline of 0.6 per cent.

Uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles increased by 12.1 per cent.

Some 1,164,870 cars have been registered in 2016 so far, up 4.1 per cent on the same period last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "The new car market in May remained high with compelling offers available on the latest vehicles, but the low growth is further evidence of the market cooling in the face of concerns around economic and political stability.

"Whether this is the result of some buyers holding off until the current uncertainty is resolved or a sign of a more stable market for new cars remains to be seen."

Here \re the top 10 sellers in Northern Ireland this year so far (making up 6,997 of the 28,031 vehicles registered:

1 Ford Fiesta 1,085

2 Hyundai Tucson 889

3 Volkswagen Golf 873

4 Volkswagen Polo 786

5 Ford Focus 653

6 Kia Sportage 598

7 Nissan Qashqai 563

8 Vauxhall Astra 536

9 Ford Kuga 516

10 Renault Kadjar 498

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