Ten per cent rise in new cars registered in Northern Ireland
The number of new cars registered in Northern Ireland last month has accelerated by almost 10 per cent on the same period in 2016.
There were 8,556 new registrations recorded in the north in March, a marked improvement from the previous 12 month's figures and took the year-so-far total to 18,962, a slight increase on 2016.
March was a record month for the UK's new car market as motorists seized the opportunity to make a purchase before sweeping tax changes were introduced, according to industry figures.
Some 562,337 new cars were registered last month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
This is up 8.4% compared with March 2016 and is the largest monthly total recorded by the industry.
New vehicle excise duty (VED) rates came into force on April 1 which mean all new cars, except for those with zero emissions, are subject to an annual flat rate charge.
RAC research found the vast majority of drivers buying new cars will pay significantly more following the changes.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said:
"These record figures are undoubtedly boosted by consumers reacting to new VED changes, pulling forward purchases into March, especially those ultra-low emission vehicles that will no longer benefit from a zero-rate fee.
"This bumper performance probably means we will see a slowdown in April, exacerbated by the fact there are fewer selling days this year given Easter timing.
"Looking ahead to the rest of the year, we still expect the market to cool only slightly given broader political uncertainties as there are still attractive deals on offer."
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