Hyundai and Kia prosper as VW falters
HYUNDAI'S striking new Tucson has picked up where its predecessor left off, with the family SUV striding ahead as Northern Ireland's favourite new car, writes William Scholes.
The Tucson was July's most popular model, with 111 examples registered, and in the year up to the end of July 713 had found homes, according to the latest data from trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Six of the entries in the year-to-date top 10 are SUVs or crossovers, with three small hatchbacks - the Dacia Sandero, Toyota Yaris and Vauxhall Corsa - joining the ubiquitous Volkswagen Golf to complete the standings.
Though sales of battery-electric cars in the UK market have increased by half compared to the same stage last year - to hold 13.9 per cent of total registration - no EVs appear in the Northern Ireland top 10.
The Northern Ireland market dropped by 15 per cent last month compared to July 2021 (2,759 v 3,248) but has fallen behind by just 0.8 per cent in the year-to-date compared to the same period in 2021 (23,898 v 24,096). The UK market overall has slipped back by 11.5 per cent.
Tightening registration figures should not, however, be confused with a fall in demand - yet.
In the past couple of years, car-makers have faced a perfect storm of Covid-19 enforced shutdowns, chip shortages and further disruptions to supply chains as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This has left many manufacturers struggling to build enough cars, with customers facing very long waits for new vehicles (and strengthening used prices).
Soaring inflation and interest rates, not to mention forecasts of recession, will doubtless dampen demand, however, giving the industry another set of problems…
Almost all of the biggest selling marques have seen their sales drop by double-digit percentages this year, with Volkswagen worst hit, losing almost a third of registrations.
Kia and Hyundai, meanwhile, continue to prosper and buck the trends. The sister companies are arguably a step ahead of their mainstream rivals when it comes to their EV offerings (where's VW's rival to the Hyundai Ioniq 5?) and have a bunch of excellent family cars (notably the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson) in their line-ups.
Diesels, once so beloved, now account for just 5.7 per cent of new registrations. Petrol's share stands at 44 per cent. Hybrids of various flavours - the vast majority of which have petrol engines - make up 36.3 per cent of the market so far this year.