New car sales stall for third year running says SMMT

The Ford Fiesta has been the top-selling new car in Northern Ireland so far this year
Gary McDonald Business Editor

NEW car sales in Northern Ireland this year are likely to be more or less similar to 2014 and 2015, staying stuck in the slow lane after three previous years of consecutive growth.

At the end of November some 3,130 no-miles models left showrooms in the north - an increase of just TWO cars on the year before.

This year so far, new registrations for the region total 55,275, broadly similar to where it was in 2015 (55,091), according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

And unless there is a pre-Christmas car-purchasing splurge - which historically doesn't happen as buyers prefer to hold off until the new year - sales could dip back to their lowest total since 2013.

In the UK as a whole, sales grew by 2.9 per cent in November compared with the same month last year the SMMT said - up to 184,101.

Growth was driven by the business and fleet sectors, which saw rises of 24.3 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively, while private registrations fell by 1.2 per cent.

More than 2.5 million cars have been registered in 2016 so far, up 2.5 per cent on the same period last year.

Registrations of alternatively fuelled vehicles increased by 25.1 per cent last month, with its market share rising from 3 per cent to 3.6 per cent.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "Our industry continues to make vehicles that are ever safer, more refined, more efficient and more enjoyable to drive - and the latest advanced technology and cutting-edge designs are continuing to attract buyers into showrooms.

"It's encouraging to see that alternatively fuelled vehicles, although still a small proportion of the market, have seen strong growth this month achieving a record market share.

"Long-term government support and incentives are essential if these vehicles are to command a larger market share in the future."

Year-to-date Volkswagen car sales are down 8.6 per cent compared with the same point in 2015.

But the brand's November registrations were up 10.8 per cent on the same month last year.

These are the annual new car registration statistics for Northern Ireland in recent years:

:: 2004 - 65,898

:: 2005 - 64,881

:: 2006 - 65,024

:: 2007 - 68,708

:: 2008 - 56,688

:: 2009 - 52,061

:: 2010 - 53,489

:: 2011 - 47,229

:: 2012 - 47,519

:: 2013 - 52,460

:: 2014 - 57,202

:: 2015 - 57,097

:: 2016 - 55,275 (to end of November)

Top-selling marques in Northern Ireland so far this year:

1 Ford Fiesta 1,981

2 Volkswagen Golf 1,787

3 Hyundai Tucson 1,775

4 Volkswagen Polo 1,378

5 Nissan qashqai 1,267

6 Ford Focus 1,225

7 Ford Kuga 1,184

8 Kia Sportage 1,178

9 Renault Kadjar 969

10 Vauxhall Mokka 969

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