Posted on Tuesday 7 October 2014 by Ulster Business

Fiesta time for retailers as new car regs return to growth

The number of new cars registered in Northern Ireland jumped by 5% in September, reversing a dip in August and confirming consumers are feeling more confident.

A total of 6,388 new cars were registered here during the month, according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, with the Ford Fiesta once again the most popular model.

It was followed by the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford Focus, both cars which appear regularly in a top three ranking of the most popular cars.

The latest data brings to 47,996 the number of new cars registered in Northern Ireland since the beginning of the year, 9.5% up on the same period in 2013, the biggest jump of all UK regions.

Buyers tend to commit to so-called “big ticket” items such as cars when they’re feeling secure about their future finances so the jump bodes well for consumer confidence.

Colin McNab, Operations Director at Charles Hurst Group, welcomed the data but said there’s a lot of lost ground to make up.

“At almost 48,000 cars sold in the last year, Northern Ireland still has some significant way to go before we reach the full year, pre-recession sales peak of 68,700 vehicles registered in 2007,” he said. “That said, the figures remain strong overall and demonstrate that consumer confidence is continuing to grow, which is welcome news for the wider economy.”

And he said a more savvy consumer is more wary nowadays about running costs.

“Many consumers have already worked out that the cost of running a new car can sometimes work out less than running an older model and are thus much more prepared to take the plunge and opt for a brand new model – and this trend is definitely borne out by the growing rise in sales which we are experiencing.”

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