North’s motor retailers lost some momentum in May, industry data shows

The 3,908 new cars registered in Northern Ireland last month was 2% down on May 2023

The Ford Puma has been updated with a new look and fresh interior
The Ford Puma remains the north's best-selling new car for 2024 to date, according to the SMMT.

The momentum building behind the north’s motor retailers in 2024 slowed during May, new industry data suggests.

A total of 3,908 new cars were registered in Northern Ireland last month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

That was 79 (1.98%) below the same month in 2023.

It represented the first month of 2024 where sales fell year-on-year.

The 3,908 new cars sold during May was higher than the 3,879 registered in May 2019.

But the SMMT data suggests the north’s motor retail industry is still performing below pre-Covid levels.

The 22,473 new cars registered in the first five months of 2024 was 3,194 (12.4%) down on the same period in 2019 when 25,667 new motors rolled out of garages.

The momentum built up in the first four months of 2024 means the industry is still performing better than 2023, with 22,473 new registrations recorded in the first five months of the year.

It marked an 8.97% improvement on the same period in 2023, the equivalent of an additional 1,736 cars.

According to the SMMT data, the Kia Sportage was the best-selling new car in the north during May 2024, with 147 new models registered last month, narrowly outselling the new Hyundai Kona on 144.

But the Ford Puma remained the best performing new car of the year to date, with 759 new models registered.

The Kia Sportage (630), Hyundai Tucson (580), Nissan Qashqai (554) and Peugeot 2008 (551) made it into the list of the top five best sellers of the year so far.

The top ten included the Volkswagen Golf (521), Renault Captur (515), Hyundai Kona (499), Volkswagen T-ROC (488) and the Vauxhall Corsa (447).