Business

North's new car market falls by another three per cent

The new car market in Northern Ireland fell by another three per cent in November, according to trade body the SMMT
Gary McDonald Business Editor

DEMAND for new cars in Northern Ireland fell by another 3 per cent last month, according to industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

Just 3,160 cars were registered in November compared to 3,253 during the same month in 2018.

And it maintains the downward trend for new car registrations in the north throughout this year, with the sector hit by weak business and consumer confidence, economic uncertainty and confusion over diesel and clean air zones.

In the year to date, 49,457 new cars have left showrooms.

That's down 2.7 per cent on the figure of 50,835 last year.

And it means Northern Ireland is on course to have its lowest sales figures since 2013, when 52,460 cars were newly-registered.

The UK-wide decline in November was 1.2 per cent, driven by a 6.1 per cent drop in demand from private consumers.

Sales of diesel models were down 27.2 per cent, while demand for petrol cars grew by 2.0 per cent.

Alternatively fuelled cars such as hybrids and battery electrics took a record market share for the second consecutive month.

More than one in 10 cars joining the UK roads was either hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure electric.

Year-to-date figures show the new car market declined 2.7 per cent during the first 11 months of the year compared with 2018.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “These are challenging times for the UK new car market, with another fall in November reflecting the current climate of uncertainty.

“It's good news, however, to see registrations of electrified cars surging again, and 2020 will see manufacturers introduce plenty of new, exciting models to give buyers even more choice.

“Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go for these vehicles to become mainstream and, to grow uptake further, we need fiscal incentives, investment in charging infrastructure and a more confident consumer.”

Alex Buttle, director of car selling comparison website Motorway.co.uk, said: “It's been a year to forget for UK car manufacturers.

“Diesel sales have been heavily depressed, and while electric have shown real promise for accelerated growth next year, the industry will be glad to see the back of 2019.

“As to whether 2020 will see an upturn in fortune, that very much depends on the result of next week's general election and a favourable Brexit outcome ahead.

“While the outcome is hard to predict, the industry is unequivocal in hoping for a ‘no deal' off the table and clarity on our future relationship with the EU.”

Top 10 selling new cars in Northern Ireland in November were:

1 Ford Kuga

2 Ford Focus

3 Renault Kadjar

4 Volkswagen Golf

5 Hyundai Tucson

6 Nissan qashqai

7 Seat Arona

8 Volkswagen Tiguan

9 Ford Ecosport

10 Ford Fiesta

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