North's car registrations still stalled while Republic grows strongly

Hyundai's Tucson has dominated the sales charts in Northern Ireland and the Republic throughout 2016, and typifies the explosion in popularity of SUVs and crossovers

GROWTH in new car registrations has continued to stall, with just two more cars registered in Northern Ireland during November this year compared to the same month in 2015.

The rise, from 3,128 to 3,130, represents a 0.1 per cent change, according to figures released by trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Just 0.3 per cent more cars have so far been registered throughout 2016 compared to the same January to November period last year.

It means that the year-to-date total of 55,275 is only narrowly ahead of 2015's tally of 55,091.

While lacklustre, the Northern Ireland market's performance is still ahead of that recorded so far this year in Wales and Scotland, which are down 0.4 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively.

England's 3.0 per cent growth helps the total UK market record a year-to-date growth of 2.6 per cent.

In contrast, registrations in the Republic are up 17.5 per cent this year, according to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.

And in Europe, the so-called big five markets - Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain - which represent almost four-fifths of all cars sold in the region had seen registrations grow by 7.4 per cent at the end of September.

Industry analyst Jato Dynamics said there were signs of European growth also stalling, with total October registrations across 29 markets falling by 0.5 per cent.

The Volkswagen Golf was Northern Ireland's favourite new car in November and has remained as Europe's number one seller throughout 2016.

"It maintained its lead, despite a significant drop in sales that saw its registrations decline by 21.2 per cent, as a result of the continuing impact of its emissions issue," said Felipe Munoz from Jato Dynamics.

Another factor in the Golf's slide is the imminent launch of a facelifted 2017 model, which Volkswagen will be hoping revives the car's fortunes.

SUVs and crossovers accounted for 27 per cent of cars registered in Europe in October. This surge in popularity has been evidenced by, for example, the Hyundai Tucson's impressive performance in Northern Ireland, where it has topped the charts this year, and in the Republic, where it is has been the year's best-seller by a substantial margin.

Northern Ireland's favourite cars in October were the Volkswagen Golf, with 138 examples registered, followed by the Hyundai Tucson (136), Nissan Qashqai (104), Ford Fiesta (88) and Skoda Fabia (76).

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