North's new car market maintains its momentum - and is going green

The Vauxhall Mokka was the top-selling model in Northern Ireland in May, according to the SMMT
The Vauxhall Mokka was the top-selling model in Northern Ireland in May, according to the SMMT

THE new car market in Northern Ireland is continuing its double-digit year-on-year growth pattern, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

Some 3,987 new cars were registered in May - up 19.8 per cent from the same month last year, when 3,328 cars were sold.

And on an annual basis, sales are up 17.8 per cent, with 20,737 vehicles leaving showrooms compared to 17,600 this time last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "After the difficult, Covid-constrained supply issues of the last few years, it's good to see the new car market maintain its upward trend and the fact that growth is increasingly green growth is hugely encouraging.

"Transforming the market nationwide, however, and at an even greater pace means we must increase demand and help any reticent driver overcome any concerns about electric vehicles.

"This will require every stakeholder - industry, government, chargepoint operators and energy companies - to play their part, accelerating investment to drive decarbonisation."

Graeme Thompson, chief financial officer at Belfast-based electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure company Weev, said tge SMMT data provides welcome reading for the EV industry with sales of electric vehicles continuing to accelerate at speed.

“The 24,513 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) registered across the UK in May represented an incredible 58.7 per cent rise on the figure for the same month last year.

“Across all vehicle types, large fleets made up more than half of new vehicle registrations. This reflects what we are seeing in the local marketplace as businesses seek to switch their fleets to EVs to unlock both financial and carbon savings.

“It is clear that the drive towards electrification is now gaining further significant momentum, making it more important than ever that adequate charging infrastructure is in place to service the market.

“That is exactly what we have been set up to address with plans to instal thousands of charging points over the coming years.”

Ian Plummer, commercial director at online vehicle marketplace Auto Trader, said: "It's great to see another month of solid sales but the continued strength of the new car market will soon depend on substantial order growth in the electric segment.

"Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) are moving in the right direction but we need to see sustained momentum. Less than 10 per cent of new car inquiries are for EVs on Auto Trader currently.

"To unlock mass adoption of EVs, we need to focus on the segments of society being left behind in the electric transition.

"Our research shows that just one fifth of women are considering an EV, opposed to a third of men.

"Women are seeing less information about EVs and not engaging with current selling points.

"In order to reach the Government's 2030 goal, the focus needs to be on converting the masses and making EVs more accessible across different demographics."

Sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK from 2030.

Top 10-selling vehicles in Northern Ireland in May were:

Vauxhall Mokka

Peugeot 2008

Hyundai Tucson

Kia Sportage

Ford Puma

Nissan qashqai

Nissan Juke

Renault Captur

Audi A3

Ford Fiesta

Volkswagen T-roc