New car sales accelerate in August - and edge ahead of 2015

gearing up for next month: New car sales grew by 2.5 per cent in Northern Ireland during August compared with the same month last year

AUGUST saw an acceleration in new car sales in Northern Ireland, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Some 4,023 cars were registered in the north last month - that's up 2.5 per cent on the same month last year (3,924).

And in the year as a whole, the market locally is running ahead of 2015, with 41,891 spanking new models having been driven from showrooms.

That's 332 cars more than this time last year (41,559), an increase of 0.8 per cent.

Although new car sales were stuck in reverse gear in Wales (-3.4 per cent) and Scotland (-3.2 per cent), overall UK numbers grew by 3.3 per cent in August, when 81,640 cars were registered.

Growth was driven by the fleet sector, which saw a 7.7 per cent rise. Private registrations fell by 0.2 per cent.

Some 1.68 million cars have been registered in 2016 so far, up 2.8 per cent on the same period last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "August is traditionally one of the quietest months as consumers look ahead to the September plate change, so growth, albeit small, is good news.

"With showrooms full of exciting models featuring the very latest technology and a raft of affordable finance options, it still makes economic sense to consider buying a new car.

"The key to maintaining this strong market is consumer confidence for which we look to government to deliver the conditions for economic growth."

Diesel demand fell by 0.2 per cent last month, while petrol registrations rose by 5.3 per cent.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles saw growth of 30.8 per cent.

Volkswagen car sales suffered a 25.2 per cent decline in August as the German manufacturer continued to suffer as a result of the diesel emissions scandal.

But in Northern Ireland, the VW Golf topped August's list of top-sellers, while the VW Polo came in at 10th spot.

Ford was represented by the Fiesta (3rd), Kuga (6th) and Focus (8th) while Renault had the Captur at 2nd place in list and Clio in 5th.

Making up the table for last month was the Hyundai Tucson (4th), Vauxhall Mokka (7th) and Nissan Qashqai (9th).

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